PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear fusion to make gold (3 of 6 images). Comp- uter simulation of the fusion of lanthanum (right) & copper nuclei to make gold. Each type of nucleus has a specific number of positively-charged parti- cles (protons). Gold has 79 protons, lanthanum 57 & copper 29. The nuclei are colour-coded: blue areas are cool; yellow, green & red areas where the nuclei touch are at about 100 billion degrees Celsius. The two nuclei are fusing to make an unstable radon nucleus (86 protons) which may form gold as it splits up. Image produced at the Large Heavy Ion Accelerator (GANIL) facility, Caen, France. See also images A130/019 to A130/024.
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