What is the X in X-mas?
strictly, the nucleus of a hydrogen atom separated from its accompanying electron. The hydrogen nucleus is made up of a particle carrying a unit positive electric charge, called a proton (q.v.). The isolated hydrogen ion, represented by the symbol H+, is therefore customarily used to represent a proton. Because the bare nucleus can readily combine with other particles (electrons, atoms, and molecules), the isolated hydrogen ion can exist only in a nearly particle-free space (high vacuum) and in the gaseous state.