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Apparently the oncoming traffic drives on the left!
[quote="feline1"]Yeah but why did we ever even decide that electrons were "negative"
and protons (and positrons) were "positve"?[/quote]
You can thank Ben Franklin for that. 8)
As Mitch notes, Franklin is responsible. His great achievement was seeing that resinous and vitreous (static)electricity as well as lightning could be accounted for by a simple particulate theory. One of the two contained an excess of electrified particles and the other contained a dearth and lightning and current electricity merely reflected the flow of those electrified particles. If the flow was slow enough, one need merely watch to see which way lightning strikes or the direction a spark jumps, but because of the high sppeds involved Franklin was left to guess and he arbitrarily assumed that resinous electricity (the one you produce by rubbing amber[the resin] with wool) was the negative one and that vitreous [produced by rubbing silk on glass] was the one that contained the extra particles. When we later grew more precise in our measurements, it became clear that Ben got is bassackwards rather like driving in the UK, but by then the nomenclature was established.
As for positrons; they were observed before the concept of anti-particles was finally worked out, so rather like helium which was discovered before Ramsay's cryogenic experiments with gasses it doesn't meet our expectation in terms of nomenclature.
Such is the role history in sex and science, my children.
WebElements: the periodic table on the WWW [http://www.webelements.com/]