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#15875 - 11/14/06 02:54 PM Alchemy...possible?
RECONMAN Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 3
Alchemy's goals are

1. The transmutation of metals

2. The creation of an elixir that would prolong life indefinitely

3. The transmutation of human life

I was wondering, with modern science, would it be possible to transmutate metals by switching up atoms and stuff? And the transmutation of human life, isn't that like cloning?

http://www.crystalinks.com/alchemy2.html

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#15876 - 11/14/06 09:07 PM Re: Alchemy...possible?
DA Morgan Offline
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Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
By modern chemistry no. By modern fission and fusion techniques ... it now an everyday event.

That is how we make the radionucleides used in modern medicine.
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#15877 - 11/17/06 03:47 AM Re: Alchemy...possible?
RECONMAN Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 3
ye, i searched up more about it about found this,

"Matter transmutation, the old goal of alchemy, enjoyed a moment in the sun in the 20th century when physicists were able to convert lead atoms into gold atoms via a nuclear reaction. However, the new gold atoms, being unstable isotopes, lasted for under five seconds before they broke apart. More recently, reports of table-top element transmutation?by means of electrolysis or sonic cavitation?were the pivot of the cold fusion controversy of 1989. None of those claims have yet been reliably duplicated."

pretty cool i must say, it came from wikipedia tho tahts why i didnt give a link

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#17304 - 12/18/06 05:15 AM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: RECONMAN]
jjw Offline
Superstar

Registered: 09/07/05
Posts: 636
Loc: USA
Sir Isaac Newton was an interested person in Alchemy.

The knowlwedge of that fact alone would convince me that there has to be merit to the persuit.

Depending on your age group you goals may be varied.
if you are seeking a better erection then Viagra is yuour source of Alchemy perfection. I think our concepts at the highest levels of our society are so banal that a video thing like Star Trec is wonderous to us even thouh it is belitteling. Any body can corfirm the efducational merits of Alchemy. Making gold is not in the forefront.

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#17312 - 12/18/06 06:37 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: jjw]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
jjw wrote:
"Sir Isaac Newton was an interested person in Alchemy.

The knowlwedge of that fact alone would convince me that there has to be merit to the persuit."

And if he had been interested in invisible purple rhinoceri would you consider that to merit pursuit too? The fact that someone is a genius in one endeavour doesn't make them competent in another.

The history of astronony, most obviously, contains individuals who demonstrated genius in the field while being totally out to lunch in others.
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#17314 - 12/18/06 06:51 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: DA Morgan]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Newton was brilliant, no doubt. But Newton lived before Bohr, before the Curies, before Becquerel, before Dalton, or Mendeleev.
He could not distinguish nuclear reactions involving protons and neutrons from chemical reactions involving electrons. He couldn't make that distinction because he was unaware of it.

Now we know better. There are actually people alive today - many of them - who know with great certainty things that Newton did not. That doesn't mean that they are smarter than Newton. It is unlikely there are more than a dozen people alive today who could remotely be called his peer. The recognition that we know things today that he did not doesn't diminish Newton's accomplishments in any way. Genius is genius.

However, as Newton himself stood on the soldiers of giants, so today any of us can do the same, if we are of a mind to do it, and are not too disuaded by vertigo and our own sweat from making the journey. We can stand on the shoulders of M. Curie, and M. Planck, of A. Einstein, and even of I. Newton himself. From that lofty height we can see clearly that that particular path he had previously followed is a dead-end. I'm pretty sure he would know it and acknowledge it himself were he alive today.

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#17499 - 12/27/06 10:07 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
jjw Offline
Superstar

Registered: 09/07/05
Posts: 636
Loc: USA
Hi DA and TFF:

DA:
Your low opinion of Alchemy may possibly be due to stories that tell us the practitioners were seeking to make gold from base metals or possibly seeking the philosers stone for everlating life. I think of it simply as searching for knowledge which I view as a worthy effort. For I. Newton to indulge seems quite right to me when we view his many accomplisments.

TFF:
Your point is well taken. He was before them. He paved new territorial avenues. To do so it is well to expand your mind and search for as yet undiscovered answers.

I agree with both of you. However, it is my long standing opinion that current society, all segments of it, tend to underestimate yesterdays society. If we know anything at all we owe to our predessors. Maybe not?

jjw

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#17502 - 12/27/06 10:14 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: jjw]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
I don't have a low opinion of the alchemists of the time. I think they were doing the best they could with what they had.

I have an extraordinarily low opinion, however, of anyone in the current century that can't see them for what they were.
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#17511 - 12/28/06 07:31 AM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: DA Morgan]
terrytnewzealand Offline
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
jjw wrote:

"However, it is my long standing opinion that current society, all segments of it, tend to underestimate yesterdays society. If we know anything at all we owe to our predessors."

Totally agree. What's more we very definitely under-rate the contribution of our Muslim friends during the Middle Ages. The West hasn't actually invented everything in spite of what many people seem to believe. And many Muslims were alchemists at the time. We even owe a lot to the person who fitted a sharpened stone to a stick during the Gravettian.

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#19178 - 03/21/07 12:41 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: RECONMAN]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
why not? what isn't possible today...imagine what will be like tomorow.

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#19180 - 03/21/07 12:44 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: jjw]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
very nicely said.

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#19181 - 03/21/07 01:17 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: quantum]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
(1) The future - climate, population, resources, pollution, wars, famine and disease etc. notwithstanding - is a long time. Given that time, and the continuing progress of science and technology, I think the required manipulation of electrons and quarks (or whatever they turn out be in actuality) will be possible. Today's synthesis of the heavy and unstable elements will, by comparison, be like the work and artefacts of the Neolithic Age.

(2) I would think that maybe ?indefinitely? might be stretching it, although not necessarily if we survive long enough to colonise the galaxy. We are, however, on the brink of an age of genetic engineering. I think it will bring the potential to:

(a) Eliminate inherited diseases (autosomal recessive diseases)
(b) Strengthen resistance to, or provide immunity to, other disease.
(c) Retard the aging process.
(d) Significantly delay, or prevent, dementia.

While that kind of thing could affect the whole species, I think other kinds of bio-engineering might also enhance individual human capabilities and/or longevity. Brain implants for example.

Having said that, I?d also say that the last thing we need right now is to work on longevity.

(3) Not sure what that means.
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#19188 - 03/21/07 03:07 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: redewenur]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
When we leave this planet to explore the galaxy ... we will not be doing it in our bodies.

We will go in the form of machines.

What percentage of those machines will be biological and what percentage mechanical we don't know as we are not ready yet.
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DA Morgan

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#19190 - 03/21/07 04:30 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: DA Morgan]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
If I didn't know better, Dan, I'd think you were suggesting a separation of body and soul and the habitation of machines by the soul...

w

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#19194 - 03/21/07 05:34 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: Wayne Zeller]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
You know better.

An artificial hip made of titanium will last the rigors of space travel far better than the one you were born with.

Our eyes on Mars are not our own.

More RAM and faster CPUs and they may just be smart enough to refuse to talk to us. <g>
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DA Morgan

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#19198 - 03/21/07 06:35 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: DA Morgan]
Wayne Zeller Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 120
Loc: Southern California
I know I know better. That's why I gave the caveat of "If I didn't know better". But you are closer to saying it than you think...

What if a technique is found to upload the contents of the brain to a piece of hardware which still allows us to think and function in our thoughts as we do now? What happens then? We load ourselves into a quantum computer and head for the stars without a single vestige of our former physical selves. What's running in the computer?

You say a program simulating our thoughts, others would say a soul. I say, "What's the difference?"

w


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#19199 - 03/21/07 06:39 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: redewenur]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
well, you can't deny that we know more then those before us considering chemistry, biology, physics, nanotechnology, DNA, and generally all the branches of science. i'm not saying that our knowledge (or better said neglect) won't destroy us eventually - i'm saying that a lot of things were discovered and still will be so i'm not rejecting the idea of alchemy as the elongation of life, turning metals into gold and... whatever.

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#19202 - 03/21/07 07:08 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: quantum]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
radioactivity is the key to today's alchemy. i'm sure of that. also, metals were turned to gold! problem is stability of such isotopes and, of course, radioactivity of such gold.

"A possible route to gold would be from mercury. If mercury of its various naturally occuring isotopes could be made to capture neutrons, the resulting nuclear decay chains would eventually yield gold-197, the most common naturally occuring gold isotope, and perfectly stable.
The neutrons used in this process would need to have an energy of at least 9 MeV in order for a complete transmutation of the mercury to occur. These energies are well within the capabilities of nuclear reactors
however the gold is likely to be contamiated with other radioisotopes. Particle accelerators could therefore be the alternative..." - university of bristol school of chemistry

it is clear that the future of alchemy, as far as transmutation of elements goes, lies in physics. indeed the nuclear industry could be considered to be a form of alchemy, as it utilises elemental transmutations on a daily basis.
but also, let's do not forget, alchemy isn't just about the transmutation of metals, it is also the form of philosophy, symbolism and human urge for existence and can't be considered only as a pure science.

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#19207 - 03/21/07 09:07 PM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: DA Morgan]
quantum Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Croatia
DA Morgan wrote:
The history of astronony, most obviously, contains individuals who demonstrated genius in the field while being totally out to lunch in others.

how very true! not to mention that most of the genius minds were obsessively-compulsive, had all kinds of serious disorders and were not able to function in normal life. but i guess that's what makes a true genius and the scientific revolutionary - courage and a complete devotion to something that only they understand entirely.

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#19234 - 03/22/07 12:16 AM Re: Alchemy...possible? [Re: quantum]
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Wayne wrote:
"What if a technique is found to upload the contents of the brain to a piece of hardware which still allows us to think and function in our thoughts as we do now? What happens then? We load ourselves into a quantum computer and head for the stars without a single vestige of our former physical selves. What's running in the computer?

You say a program simulating our thoughts, others would say a soul. I say, "What's the difference?"


The difference is murder: Seriously!

If I transfer my being to a machine I must murder my original body. If I copy my being to a machine I have a clone that might decide to it should have equal access my checking account and my wife.
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DA Morgan

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