Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Electron Particle
Name: Robert
Status: student
Age: 18
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

I read that the electron is a point particle. This makes sense if it is a fundamental particle, since if it had non-zero volume whatever it was made out of would be more fundamental.

The problem is, I thought the electron had mass--orders of magnitude smaller than the proton, but still a measurable mass...

Can a point particle that takes up no space have mass? How?

I suspect my assumptions are wrong somewhere.

Electrons are not very well understood. Although their behavior can be predicted with unbelievable accuracy, and we have lots of verifiable facts about electrons, nobody really knows what an electron is.

Tim Mooney

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory