What Are Protons and Neutrons Called?

Collectively, protons and neutrons are called nucleons. Along with electrons, they make up the three subatomic particles in an atom.


Protons and neutrons make up the nucleus of the atom, which is the densely packed center. The protons are positively charged while neutrons are neutral. Electrons are negatively charged, and they surround the nucleus in a series of shells. Atoms make up everything in the universe, from peaches to air to human beings. How many protons, neutrons and electrons an atom has determines what element it is, though on the periodic table of elements, the atomic number is based on the number of protons an element has.