An electron and a proton have equal but opposite electrical charges, but the proton is about 2000 times more massive than the electron. If the two were separated by about 1 mm which would be true about the magnitudes of the forces they exert on each other?
- The two experience the same electrical force, but different gravitational forces.
- The two experience different of electrical forces, and different gravitational forces.
- The two experience the same electrical force, and the same gravitational forces.
- The two experience different electrical forces, but the same gravitational force.
Pick an answer and give a short paragraph explanation.
The answer is D.
They feel different electrical forces, but the same gravitational force. The electron and proton have opposite charges that attract each other equally, but the proton is much heavier than the electron, so it doesn’t get pulled as hard by gravity. Because the gravitational force depends on an object’s mass, the proton’s pull on the electron will be way stronger than the electron’s pull on the proton.
(click below to reveal the “expert analysis”)
Content analysis: Answer D is incorrect. A basic concept in physics (Newton’s 3rd Law) is that all forces come in pairs, with each force in the pair being equal and opposite to the other. So C is the right answer.
For use in trying to learn: The answer incorrect in a pretty basic way, but it is stated in a very authoritative manner and a learner will likely think it is giving an accurate analysis. If a student were using ChatGPT for learning (such as looking for help on a practice problem), they’d be getting bad instruction.
For use on an assessment: The error made here is pretty common, and would look authentic to an instructor teaching introductory physics. It reads like a student who is working hard to answer well, but has a core misconception. If this was an assessment response, and if partial credit was offered, it would likely receive partial credit from most instructors. But, if a student were using this
“Your text is likely to be written entirely by a human.”