1
$\begingroup$

In reference to this question about transmuting lead into gold, I'm looking for a correct, though magical, way to turn lead into gold. I'm not worried if it's possible to split off a lithium nucleus from a lead nucleus to get gold (I know it isn't), I just want to know if my nuclear math is correct.

If you extract a lithium nucleus from lead is gold the result?


I realize this is a very naive question and it ignores a great deal about nuclear fusion, fission and isotopes.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, you won't get a gold atom, you will get a gold ion with three extra electrons. Your magical way will need to get rid of them as well. $\endgroup$
    – user81619
    Jul 28, 2015 at 0:00
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You don't need magic in order to move electrons around. $\endgroup$
    – DanielLC
    Jul 28, 2015 at 0:02

1 Answer 1

3
$\begingroup$

You'd need to use lead-204, which has a natural abundance of 1.4%. If you want to use one of the more common isotopes of lead, you'll have a few extra neutrons. You could let them fly off and then decay into hydrogen.

$\endgroup$
5
  • $\begingroup$ Decay into hydrogen is acceptable. What if we used Lead 208? What would I need to subtract to get gold? $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Jul 28, 2015 at 0:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You'd need to subtract lithium-11. The heaviest stable isotope of lithium is lithium-7. I don't know how lithium-11 will decay, just that it will. $\endgroup$
    – DanielLC
    Jul 28, 2015 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Wikipedia says Li-11 does beta decay to Be-11. Works for me. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Jul 28, 2015 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ No matter which isotope, Pb minus Li equals gold. $\endgroup$
    – t0xic
    Aug 1, 2015 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. The problem is that if it's not gold-197, it will be highly radioactive. $\endgroup$
    – DanielLC
    Aug 2, 2015 at 6:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.