In my textbook, $\ce{β-}$ particle is denoted as $_{-1}e^0$. This means that the atomic number of $\ce{β-}$ is $\ce{-1}$. But that doesn't make any sense. Also, how is the mass number of $\ce{β-}$ zero? I mean it must have some mass right? How can it be massless?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I will start you off: mass number is not mass. Mass number is total protons plus neutrons, so it is zero for an electron. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Apr 24 '21 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ But what is the meaning of having atomic number equal to $-1$? Total number of protons equal to $-1$? That doesn't make any sense. $\endgroup$ Apr 24 '21 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ An electron has a negative charge, hasn't it ? $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Apr 24 '21 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ Get a better textbook, the authors of this one have no idea what they are writing about, or it's poor editorial job. Either way, beta particle is denoted with e, e⁻ or β⁻. All particle symbols are upright and the charge is denoted in a superscript. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Apr 24 '21 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ Also, it is best not to dwell on such contrived stuff: people who write beginning level chemistry books often strive for an artificial consistency, leading to what you have encountered. I have seen it as well and been annoyed by it. So what @andselisk says is good advice: get a better book, if you have the opportunity. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Apr 24 '21 at 12:24

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