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1920 in physics, coined by English physicist Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937) from noun use of Greek proton, neuter of protos "first" (see proto-), on analogy of electron; supposedly because hydrogen was hypothesized as a constituent of all the elements. The word was used earlier in embryology (1893) as a translation of German anlage ("fundamental thing") based on Aristotle's phrase he prote ousia to proton.
proton pro·ton (prō'tŏn')
A stable, positively charged subatomic particle in the baryon family having a mass 1,836 times that of the electron.
A stable subatomic particle in the baryon family having a mass of 1.672 × 10-24 grams (1,836 times that of the electron) and a positive electric charge of approximately 1.602 × 10-19 coulombs. Protons make up part of the nucleus of all atoms except hydrogen, whose nucleus consists of a single proton. In neutral atoms, the number of protons is the same as the number of electrons. In positively charged atoms, the number of protons is greater than the number of electrons, and in negatively charged atoms electrons outnumber protons. Protons are believed to be composed of two up quarks and one down quark. See Table at subatomic particle.