Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Can't you make elements out of elements

  1. Jun 16, 2012 #1
    Can't you take a proton out of a mercury atom for example so the atomic number can change from 80 to 79 so it can become a gold atom?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Sounds good, now what kind of tweezers do you use to grab a proton?
  4. Jun 16, 2012 #3
    Very funny but can't you use nuclear binding energy...
  5. Jun 16, 2012 #4

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    As tweezers? How?
  6. Jun 16, 2012 #5
    So are you saying it's impossible...
  7. Jun 16, 2012 #6
    It called transmutation. It's 60+ years old now in the lab, maybe 80 years old on paper.
  8. Jun 16, 2012 #7

    D H

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Exactly. This is after all the technique used to create elements that have never been seen before.

    There's one catch: It's expensive. Massively expensive. The cost of creating gold via transmutation exceeds the value of the gold by many, many orders of magnitude.
  9. Jun 16, 2012 #8
    Oh ok that's pretty interesting..
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook