Found another use for gold: lining the engine bay of your McLaren F1 Supercar.
Gold, like all other elements in the universe heavier than lithium, is created in stars, by the process of nuclear fusion. However, the formation of different elements varies according to their atomic number.
Elements lighter than iron are formed by "helium capture" fusion, where nuclei capture a helium-4 nucleus and fuse with it into a heavier elment. For example, a carbon-12 nucleus could collide with helium-4 and produce oxygen-16 and energy. The iron nucleus is more strongly bound than any other nucleus, and so there is basically "no room" for the helium-4 to fuse with it.
Elements heavier than iron are formed by neutron capture, or s-process, fusion. In this type of fusion, nuclei capture stray neutrons -- it is called s-process as it happens much slower than helium capture. This process is responsible for all elements from iron to bismuth, like gold.
Elements heavier than bismuth are thought to be formed in supernovae, when pressures and temperatures are much higher than possible in a stable star.
sheye: I'm just a know-it-all. If you were asking about me using Gold in the engine bay of my McLaren F1, gold is a very good conductor of heat, and the engine in a McLaren gets very hot. The price of gold is based on what the world thinks its worth. And its going up again because the US dollar is dropping again. I don't buy gold. There are better investments.
Gold is also a great conductor of electricity and it doesn't corrode. Its also good at blocking certain types of radiation which is one reason why its used in spacecraft. People aren't usually allergic to gold so it works well for jewelry and some people like shiny metal.
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