From time to time I am having a little fun asking people two questions. Is it possible to achieve what alchemists wanted - lead to gold transformation? Everyone gives me a right answer: "go to hell" or "hell no, don’t you go to school, alchemy was a pseudoscience"
Then I ask a second question. Is it possible to get one periodic element from another? Most of the people do not fully understand the meaning but some give the right answer - "Yes, it is called nuclear reaction" and almost immediately come to realisation - it was the same question asked twice. Lead and gold are both metals, both from periodic table.
According to both Bohr’s atomic and quantum mechanical models, the difference between lead and gold is three protons in atom nucleus. If we remove those extra protons from lead nucleus we get an atom of gold and some energy. Unfortunately we do not have the know-how to exercise that kind of control, yet.
I don’t think that synthetic gold will be financially feasible, but we are already running short of some rear earth metals, that shortage holds back our technological advance. Alchemy also, can be a good alternative or supplement to asteroid mining …