You take powdered lead, and you sine an electric element onto the dust.
Isotopes Lead 204Pb, 206Pb, 207Pb, 208Pb
isotope Gold 197Ag others radioactive
1 204Pb+7e- ->197Ag+7n0
The free electrons bond with protons, to form neutrons. That are spat our of the nucleus. You could also emit alpha particles 2p+.2n0
Alchemists had access to batteries – to light their labs. A drive heating elements. If they had shone one heating element on lead, nothing would HAVE HAPPENED.
So they turned vinegar and metal scrap, into light! Magic indeed. Though you do need an electro gun or bright concentrated sun light to punch the electrons into the lead.
Electrons are basically excluded from the nucleus, by the shell electrons. In contrast neutrons sail straight on through. And the bet source of neutrons, is a hydrogen plasma.
2 H2= 2(xn0.p++e-)
3 2p+.nx+PL+2e-->(x+2)n0 the electrons and protons.neutrons break apart, then bond together to form neutrons.
4 Pb+n0->Hg+2(p+.n0) 2(p+.n0)=alpha particle= helium nucleus
The likelihood is we will get a beta particle emitted.
5 Hg->Au+p++e- so we also eject an electron/ gamma particle
All of this beyond the chemistry of an Alchemist. But we live in the 21st century. We play a H plasma on Pb foil, and get out foil part gold. It is all very complicated.
It is far easier to dill down 34m into a magma chamber, and get up dirty steam. We pass through a Dyson dry cleaner, and get clean steam and metal duct:40% gold! A rich gold source is 1% gold metal.
The Earth's core contain 455 million tonnes of gold – man has only ever mined 2,000 tonnes. Most as the Kruger mine has accessed the deep water than runs around the Earth – with gold and platinum dust in.
So a physics department would make a bit of gold. An engineering department at university, could drill down to the deep water, and gets tonnes of gold and silver.
The water that runs around the Earth in turbulent fashion turns water into oxygen and neutrons. And these neutrons turn lead into gold. Which is why gold is the 5th most abundant element on Earth. The single isotope of gold causes neutrons to be re-emitted, not changing the gold metal.
In contrast, lead becomes gold. Use the clean steam to generate totally non toxic carbon 0 power: no thorium/uranium use.