|1.||the act or an instance of transmuting|
|2.||the change of one chemical element into another by a nuclear reaction|
|3.||the attempted conversion, by alchemists, of base metals into gold or silver|
transmutation trans·mu·ta·tion (trāns'myōō-tā'shən, trānz'-)
A change; transformation.
In physics, the transformation of one element into another by one or a series of nuclear reactions.
|transmutation (trāns'my-tā'shən) Pronunciation Key
The changing of one chemical element into another. Transmutations occur naturally through radioactive decay, or artificially by bombarding the nucleus of a substance with subatomic particles.
conversion of one chemical element into another. A transmutation entails a change in the structure of atomic nuclei and hence may be induced by a nuclear reaction (q.v.), such as neutron capture, or occur spontaneously by radioactive decay, such as alpha decay and beta decay (qq.v.). Transmutation of base metals (such as mercury, tin, copper, lead) into precious metals (gold, silver) was long attempted by alchemists, who had no concept of the atomic nature of matter. Their experimentation led to discoveries of many important chemical reactions, but chemical reactions are not capable of effecting the nuclear changes required for transmutation.
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