Talk:Electron shell

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This is one of the most important science articles in wikipedia and it is awful! I've tried, but it needs a lot more attention. 16:06, 27 March 2008 (UTC) Umptious (talk) 16:07, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

This is going to be an extremely tricky article to get right: different levels of education often teach partially true simplifications as utter truth on this subject. The article has to be comprehensible to a wide range of educational levels, acknowledging the relevant simplifications, but qualifying them carefully. 16:45, 27 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Umptious (talkcontribs)

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I was under the distinct impression that in the field of pure chemistry, the Bohr-Summerfield model has been regarded as an obsolete oversimplification since before anyone reading this was born, and chemists speak in terms of atomic orbital theory. Perhaps someone whose qualifications exceed mine (former chemistry major, longer ago than I'd like to admit) can speak to this point. The Bohr-Summerfield model has the sad fate of being too simplified to be helpful or usable even as a conceptual model beyond high-school cookbook "Earth Science" and too complex for Sunday-supplement newspaper filler. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't think the article contradicts that. It just says the Bohr-Sommerfeld model is the historical source of the term "electron shell" and "subshell". That said, certainly that discussion could use improvement, it doesn't make it very clear what is true and what is old historical ideas, and mixes up things anachronistically. --Steve (talk) 16:51, 31 August 2011 (UTC)


sorry i have a ques. and am not finding it`s am posting it here.In a p-subshell we have 2 electrons in each orbital which are accommodated by 2 lobes in each orbital and between 2 lobes there is a zero probability region called node.the ques. that arises in my mind is why there is zero probability if electrons can oscillate between two lobes they have to pass through node then there must be some probability of finding electrons there.Raje80887 (talk) 10:08, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

It's quantum uncertainty. If you're at that kind of scale you can't know where the electron is and how it's moving. So we know that it's in one of the lobes and oscillates between them, but we then can't know how it's moving between them. However, we can know the probability that we will find it somewhere. In particular, there is 0 probability of finding it at the node. Attinio (talk) 01:53, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

And if you think that's crazy, welcome to the club. ;-) Lanthanum-138 (talk) 09:06, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Let's see if this helps. You want to see the electron, ok. First, look at a guitar string tied at each end. Pluck it; what do you see? It goes up and down. (Let's ignore friction in our model, so it just keeps going up and down forever.) If you want to see how far up and down any particular point on the string goes, you use a sine wave with just one lobe. If you want to see how far up (or down) any point on the string can go, you use the equation, height = A sin(x π/L), where A is the highest point on the string (in the middle here) and where the value of x varies from zero to L which is the length of the string. This wave must have a value everywhere along this string, and its value is zero at each end. Now pluck it so hard that the vibration of the string goes into another "mode", one where the left half is going up while the right half is going down. The equation is now height = A sin(x 2π/L) and there is a node in the middle. The middle point has a value. It is zero.Laburke (talk) 19:30, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

Electrons vs protons determine chemical properties[edit]

The electrons in the outermost shell determine the chemical properties of the atom (see valence shell).

I thought the protons did this and the electrons determine reactivity? (talk) 10:01, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Reactivity is one of the chemical properties.
"A chemical property is any of a material's properties that becomes evident during a chemical reaction;"
--Friko9 (talk) 23:17, 1 February 2012 (UTC)


"The origin of this terminology was alphabetic" - this doesn't explain why Barkla picked K, L, M, etc. as opposed to A, B, C etc. --Redrose64 (talk) 16:18, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Cannot edit, but could give short explanation:
The origin of the terminology was alphabetic. The shells were called after the X-ray lengths of the wave emitted by atoms, when they are hit by high energy electrons. Charles G. Barkla noticed, the atoms generate 2 types of X-rays. He called them A(higher energy) and B(lower energy). Then he realized there could be higher energies of X-ray to be generated that way, so he changed their names to K and L, to give the space for the future discoverers. Nowdays we know those energy bounds are related to the first 2 electron shells.
Unfortunately haven't any trustworhy literature standing behind. --Friko9 (talk) 00:04, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Palladium - [Kr]4d10[edit]

Should we write palladium's rather strange electron configuration as "2, 8, 18, 18" or "2, 8, 18, 18, 0"? Attinio (talk) 01:50, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

The Palladium article is inconsistent. The infobox row "Electrons per shell" has "2, 8, 18, 18, 0"; however in the section #Characteristics it just shows "2, 8, 18, 18". IMO, "2, 8, 18, 18, 0" is better, to emphasise the fact that the 5s subshell, which you would normally expect to be filled, is present but empty. Maybe this should initially be taken to Talk:Palladium, and the consensus from that discussion brought back here? --Redrose64 (talk) 08:02, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Valence electrons[edit]

I find an inconsistency between this article and the article on Valence electrons, this article states that electrons in the valence shell are MISLEADINGLY referred to as valence electrons, that is, electrons that determine how the atom behaves in chemical reactions. The Valence Electron article, on the other hand, states right in the introduction that "[Valence Electrons] are important in determining how the atom reacts chemically..." ?????? (Duderseb (talk) 19:50, 5 August 2010 (UTC))


"Degenerate" for g-orbitals? That can't be a historical name. The article mentions that the only historical names are sharp, principal, diffuse and fundamental (f being the last), and degenerate doesn't fit at all as it doesn't begin with g. Besides, no known element has electrons occupying the g-subshell in its ground state. Lanthanum-138 (talk) 09:04, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

I changed it and added a citation. :-) --Steve (talk) 01:01, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Group membership of Lutetium and Lawrencium in table in section List of elements with electrons per shell[edit]

According to IUPAC decision from 1970, lutetium belongs to lanthanide, and lawrencium to actinide, what is also reflected on their respective wiki pages. Same membership is also expressed in the periodic table image on this page. Should then their membership to group 3 be removed from this table (as for other lanthanide or actinide members)? Unfortunately, group 3 elements page has images for both lutetium and lawrencium as group 3 members, yet the text clearly suggest that their membership is not really fully agreed to be group 3. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:29, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

References for 2s^2 formula added[edit] I added this since it explains in detail why we use that formula and has caveats about it's use. I hope this helps some future scientists out there!  :) I put this comment here in case someone thinks it should be deleted. I would also like a textbook reference (besides the ones on that site) for the claim that it's that set of numbers. Anyone able to help? (talk) 23:37, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit Request[edit]

I think this article would be improved by inclusion of a link to the page Electron_configurations_of_the _elements_(data_page). I would place it above or below the List of elements with electrons per shell. ie. For more detailed information about the ground state configuration of the elements, see Electron_configurations_of_the _elements_(data_page). (see also Electron_Configuration). (talk) 17:35, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Good point. -DePiep (talk) 19:44, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

Vanadium & Chromium[edit]

Why the gap between vanadium & chromium: i.e. why isn't chromium 2,8,12,2?

Is this worth a mention? Or am I missing something?

Paul Magnussen (talk) 07:06, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 28 February 2017[edit]

may be thought of as an orbit OCCUPIED by electrons around an atom's (talk) 14:10, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. JTP (talkcontribs) 15:31, 1 March 2017 (UTC)


There could generally be more references in this article, but specifically there should be a reference for the historical names of the subshells. —DIV ( (talk) 11:07, 17 June 2017 (UTC))