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Chemistry LibreTexts

9: Electrons in Atoms and the Periodic Table

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  • Atoms act the way they do because of their structure. We already know that atoms are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are located in the nucleus, and electrons orbit around the nucleus. But we need to know the structural details to understand why atoms react the way they do. Virtually everything we know about atoms ultimately comes from light. Before we can understand the composition of atoms (especially electrons), we need to understand the properties of light.