ALCHEMY: ONE PAIN, NO GAIN | Part 2
Human civilization has long witnessed "no pain but gain" dogmatists.
As early as 296, Diocletian, the Roman Emperor banned the practice of alchemy and tore down any related document. By 1317, Pope John XXII declared alchemy illegal and imposed strict punishments on gold transmutation intention. Until the 1500s, even France's Charles V and England's Henry IV outlawed alchemy practice of any form, levying a death penalty on those who violated this.
That said, even when there was no prohibition, alchemists could hardly ever succeed in transmuting lead into gold, let alone the elixir of life. Forasmuch as the Philosopher's Stone was slightly out of the question for good.
Several alchemists were of well-educated backgrounds, thus, among the minor prominent at that time. Still, why could they bigot such a seemingly absurd thing?
For their "knowledge" was still two-bit compared to ours. Standing on the giant's shoulder, even the dullest of us could better perceive than our ancestors.
Back when even the sharpest people could hardly ever know that matter was made up of atoms with three constituent particles instead of 4 elements. They as well had no idea of gold and lead being two separate elements with different atomic structures. What they were expected to do was to change the proton number in the atomic nucleus to 79 from 82 to transmute lead into gold. Mixing compounds with faith, heating them in glass jars and counting on miraculous results would instead get them nowhere.
Dismally enough, the periodic table still was too far from them.
After all, alchemy was too high a desire in a "down-and-out" age, in terms of either resources and knowledge. Thus, its vanishing was pretty much doomed. Verified experiments, however, got alchemists to press the "self-destruction" button upon realizing they could never hold on such an ideology, which is, to appearance, better than other non-science stubbornly bigot howbeit of no evidence philosophies. Take, for example, astrology.
On the other hand, alchemy has, to a certain extent, given grounds for modern chemistry. The alchemy dawn had facilitated the discovery of such new compounds as cold salts (NH4Cl), Potassium nitrate (KNO3), alcohols and inorganic acids.
Experimental techniques and methodology, to demonstrate, distillation, metal extraction, or laboratory glassware have as well derived from alchemists' "trial-mistake" processes. It's not to mention its piecemeal impacts on the pharmaceutical industry later on.
Flabbergasted as it might sound, even our prominent Newton believed in alchemy. However, he was instead in a great attempt to interpret ancient knowledge, thus, better his understanding of the material world instead of to gold transmutation. Instead of disdaining the predecessors' experience, Robert Boyle (1627-1691), the father of chemistry, as much ardently supported the transmutation idea.
Which is a "doable" that modern nuclear physicists have many a time practised? In commercial nuclear reactors, uranium atoms are fissioned to form such smaller nuclei elements as xenon and strontium insomuch as helium has all too often been generated by combining two heavy hydrogen isotopes in a heated reactor.
Transmuting lead into gold as well is not that futile.
Should you ever want to put it to the test (for fun), prepare a particle accelerator, an enormous supply of energy, and a low expectation on the amount of gold you could generate.
Thirty years ago, Lawrence Berkeley International Laboratory's nuclear scientists successfully transmuted bismuth (next to the lead on the periodic table) into gold. Given that, the amount of gold they could collect was so small that they could only work it out by measuring the decaying radiation of the gold atom's nucleus.
A specific number: this method costs roughly $1 million to create an ounce of gold (about 30 gram).
On the whole, "no pain, no gain" has since become a social norm and cunning schemes, to all appearances, might turn this world worldly.
Given the notorious "Alchemist" that teaches you never to give it in and "believe in the universe", I at this moment hope that this article will somehow get you to realize that leaving something hanging is still a way, principally when you've set out in the wrong direction from the very beginning.
While one is fantasy, the other is reality.