Uranium has an even larger number of nucleons, its prime form having 238 nucleons, but it occurs naturally with the 0.7% presence of a form of uranium containing 235 nucleons and if the latter form is isolated and has sufficient size, those nucleons break out and one has fission, the opposite to fusion.
Now, going back in history, it was the aim of the alchemist to transmute base metals into gold. Lead has more nucleons than gold so to form gold from lead those alchemists would have had to trigger a fission reaction, whereas to form gold from copper or silver, which have fewer nucleons, the transmutation process would have involved fusion. Isaac Newton, a notorious alchemist, was deeply interested in understanding Nature's processes of creation and so pursued such research, no doubt having an eye on the initial financial rewards before the eventual devaluation of gold when the secret of the transmutation process became public knowledge.
If you wish to read about Newton's efforts on that front, then a book published in England in 1997 tells the story. It is entitled: 'Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer'. Its author is Michael White and its reference is ISBN 1-85702-416-8.
On page 183 of that book, after a statement in the main text: 'If the experiments do not support the proposal then it will not be promoted from a mere hypothesis', there follows a footnote, reading:
A modern example is the case of cold fusion. In 1989, Professors Fleischmann and Pons, announced that they had achieved the process of nuclear fusion at around room temperature. However, before this staggering claim could be accepted, teams of scientists around the world tried to repeat the experiments. When these attempts failed completely, the idea was considered to be almost certainly false and tests eventually pinpointed the fault with the original experiments. Although Professor Fleischmann is still researching cold fusion at a centre financed by a collection of Japanese corporations, the cold-fusion hypothesis has been widely discarded by orthodox science.
So, the historian who writes about the alchemist's dream based on the life and times of Isaac Newton has already taken note that the ongoing fiasco concerning 'cold fusion' is destined to becomes history repeating itself, alchemy and cold fusion being different names for the same kind of pursuit, where the word 'energy' substitutes for the word 'gold'.
Now, when I read the book about Isaac Newton's efforts to transmute one element into another, I had no difficulty in appreciating why Newton had that intuitive belief that Nature must have its own way of causing elements to undergo transmutation. Surely, just because we now think that these transmutations occurred once and for all in a Big Bang event or in an still ongoing activity at the centres of stars, that should not affect our intuitive feeling that there might be other ways of promoting the transmutations here on Earth at normal temperatures.
If you say that such 'intuition' is unwarranted then please give me an answer to Einstein's question. Einstein was not an alchemist. He merely promoted his hypotheses and remember that it should take more than hypothesis to establish a belief which can be sustained in the world of orthodox science. I have never accepted the doctrines of Einstein's theory, simply because they stand in the way of onward scientific development and technology based on there being an energy resource locked into the aether that fills space. I see that aether as the energy source from which those nucleons are created and on from there, when we talk of alchemy and cold fusion, we are only concerned with how those nucleons can combine to form a variety of atoms. I am attentive to what I hear about such reactions occurring at modest temperatures and that brings me back to Einstein's question.
Why does there still exist uranium, despite its comparatively rapid decomposition, and despite the fact that no possibility for the creation of uranium is recognizable?
This question was raised in the 'Appendix for the Second Edition' of Einstein's book 'The Meaning of Relativity', Princeton University Press. Einstein did not even attempt an answer. The paragraph in which the question was raised ended with the sentence: 'But it would lead too far to go into questions of this type.'
So, 'Hail, Einstein', the scientist who did not want to extend himself by probing questions which even Isaac Newton was willing to explore by his alchemical pursuits, and which Professors Fleischmann and Pons later probed by contemplating transmutation of elements at normal laboratory temperatures. Yes, it is much easier to 'discover' what is happening in the far depths of space-time than it is to discover how things are as they are on body Earth.
There is my own question, with Isaac Newton in mind, one I would add to that of Einstein: "Why is it that gold appeared on Earth in the form of gold nuggets, rather than as atoms sprinkled around and mixed with atoms of other elements over the whole of the Earth's crust?" You see, if those atoms of gold were formed in hot fusion (or hot fission) reactions in a Big Bang event or deep in the hot core of stars, how did they contrive to come together as a solid lump of gold to form that nugget on planet Earth? It is just as important, indeed probably far more important, to discover how they got together on Earth as it is to know, or rather imagine how they were formed as atoms some billions or so years ago.
Physicists, it seems, those of our modern academic community only raise questions that they can answer. So Einstein deserves credit for putting that question I mention above. So, what is the answer? Does 'orthodox science' offer such an answer?
By this statement I intend to stress the fact that atoms are not dispersed in a random distribution in a general mixture with the myriad of other atomic species which constitute matter. We find gold where there is gold, just as in the Wild West of America one found wild horses where there were other wild horses. The 'herding instinct' is at work in the latter case but, more to the point, there is the 'creation and survival factor'. People are 'created' where there are people and it does not need a physicist to tell you why. There are two principal factors which govern this circumstance, the emergence of the embryonic form and its survival after birth. Survival depends upon community, collective association and parental care.
In the particle world of the physicist the close association of two particles of opposite electrical polarity, a parent particle and a 'seeding' particle, given energy input, can create a parent and offspring, which separate to build a family of mixed polarity but like particle forms. That is something you can read about elsewhere in these Web pages. See [1978b]. However, following the creation of such particles, they are subject to processes of decay much as applies to us humans. They have interplay of energy amongst themselves and the rest of the particle world. They are bombarded at random by energy activity from the background environment, but their chance of survival is enhanced by a mutual proximity which allows them to nurture one another by pooling their energy. So, their mean lifetimes increase if they cluster or herd together. Again that is something that can be explained by basic physical principles. See, for example, [1981b] and [1982d]. Here I ask you just to accept the proposition that the creation of an atom is followed by its inevitable decay, but that chance of decay depends upon two factors (a) whether the atom is over-weight or of a specially-awkward form and (b) whether the atom keeps close company with a family atoms of identical form.
You can recognize radioactivity as being the symptom of the first category. There are two 'mid-weight' atoms in the periodic table of atomic elements which are awkward in the sense just described, these being promethium and technetium. They are social mis-fits in the quantum world and suffer early demise. I show why in one of my published scientific papers. See [1987a]. Then, concerning the lifetime factor and family proximity that has to do with mutual stability, energy exchange in a local conservative exchange requiring at least three identical particles to keep close company. In the case of the atom as a whole, the nuclear core charge is the 'particle' in question. I do not mean the atomic nucleus as a whole, but rather the Ze charge form, Z being the atomic number of the atom.
My conception of an atom is one having a positive core charge Ze surrounded by a local 'cloud' of anti-protons which have displaced negative aether charges from adjacent lattice sites. Remember that Nobel Laureate Dirac theorized that the aether contained electrons sitting as latent occupants of positive holes, sites in the aether compartments where a negative charge could sit and exhibit only a neutral effect. According to Dirac an electron is 'created' when such a 'hole' is vacated and this leaves a positive charge behind which is interpreted as a 'positron'.
Well, I have my own way of describing the aether, but it amounts to something similar. My vision is that anti-protons can sit in those positive holes and appear as electrically neutral nucleons. I do not use the word 'neutron' in this description of the atom. A neutron, as such, is something only seen in free flight, well clear of the atom from which it is created as a decay product, which itself decays with a half-life of a few minutes. So, overall, an atom comprises the Ze charge unit, a series of latent, neutralized anti-protons clustered around that Ze charge, and the familiar satellite system of Z electrons which make the atom electrically neutral as a whole.
The stability and equilibrium factor depends upon how those Ze charges of adjacent atoms get on with each other. They will be stable, mutually stable, if Z is the same for all members to the group.
To sum up, if Nature creates a gold atom somewhere by a kind of random process, then it will decay if it is not in the near presence of other gold atoms. It will decay anyway eventually, as do all atoms, but the overall result, what we see, is the outcome of an ongoing contest, governed by chance and probabilities of creation and decay as between the various atomic species, tempered by events which juggle the atoms about in geological or cosmic turmoil.
In short, there is nothing in this story that says that the spectrum of atomic species must originate exclusively within the inferno of a star or a Big Bang event. My answer to Einstein's question is that uranium is still being created here and now on body Earth, as is gold and deuterium and even hydrogen.
So, if Nature has a way of determining the natural abundance as between the respective elements and we, for example, move all the heavy water component, D2O, deuterium oxide, into isolation in, say, the Dead Sea and leave the oceans replete in their purified form as H2O, we might expect Nature to get to work and transmute by fission or fusion until the proper balance of heavy and light water in the seas and oceans is restored. That would involve 'cold fusion' such as we have seen in the accelerated process reported by Fleischmann and Pons.
Einstein's question might well, therefore, find its answer in the work of Isaac Newton and the efforts of those now active on the cold fusion scene.
I had retired from my position with IBM and was engaged in my own research at university when I heard of the 'cold fusion' breakthrough by Fleischmann and Pons. I imagined the situation if that invention had come my way for patent protection in the days when I was handling such work myself. My guess was that the invention would be seen more as a chemical process for generating heat than as a heat-generating apparatus. I knew that if the invention really was to be the energy breakthrough that was promised, there would be numerous onward developments all patentable and that competition to get patent cover in this new field would be enormous. It is characteristic of all major technological developments.
What struck me as particularly relevant to my interests was the fact that it seemed that no neutrons were emitted as deuterium atoms fused to shed heat. My published scientific work had established to my satisfaction that there is no neutron in the deuteron and so here was something that I thought could confirm my theory. My published scientific work had also revealed my interest in anomalous electrodynamic forces set up when an electric current is transported, not by electrons, but by heavy atomic particles such as protons (or deuterons), these having masses some thousands of times larger than the electron mass. Those anomalous forces reported from research dating back half a century and more had never been explained. They were - well, I will not digress. I have written about this elsewhere (See [1969a] and 1977a), so suffice it to say here that I wondered if the deuterons absorbed into the cathode of the Fleischmann-Pons electrolytic cells were being accelerated anomalously so as to collide with one another in the metal of the cathode and so trigger fusion. I also knew of other energy anomalies occurring in metal when carrying electric current and so my interest was aroused as well as my imagination.
I thought about the effects of introducing a strong electric current flow, with very low energy input to a closed circuit including the cathode in a modified cell, based on what Fleischmann-Pons claimed to have discovered. I knew this would add heat and the real object was to generate heat as output rather than supply it as input, but it makes sense to add a little of something, a strong electric current stimulus, to get more action from the cell.
So it was that, on April 15, 1989, a matter of days after the Fleischmann-Pons discovery became news, I filed a patent application at the British Patent Office with apparatus claims directed at that proposition. It was eventually granted. However, the corresponding U.S. Patent Application was destined to become part of a saga that I could never have imagined during my years of experience in the patent profession.
I intend to tell that story in these Web pages, but that will take us to another Lecture and on from there. My object in this Lecture is to defend the spirit of scientific enquiry that motivated those of long ago who sought to transmute the elements and to point out that Einstein, the champion of orthodox science, as he has become, never did answer his own 'cold fusion' question concerning the presence of uranium on body Earth.