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Taking a proton out of the atom.

  1. May 6, 2012 #1
    Now lets say you have a mercury atom that has an atomic number of 80 , now lets say you take out a proton put of the nucleus by using a a lot of energy(nuclear binding energy). Now won't taking the proton out , turn it into a gold atom since gold has an atomic number of 79.
    ?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 6, 2012 #2
    Yes, but you can't really just pick a proton and remove it. The general idea happens though. Radioactive decay is one element decaying into another by ejecting a He nucleus or neutron decay into a proton. I don't know enough about it to tell you what can decay into what, but I bet that the exact example you give cannot happen.
     
  4. May 6, 2012 #3
    This may happen, if not mercury (since one proton emission doesn't happen) but the expense for the process would out weigh the worth of the lone gold atom. Also, its very probably that this atom would be unstable due to an excess of neutrons, and disintegrate into other simpler atoms.
     
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