Western scientists of Baha'u'llah's day believed that transmutation- the changing of one chemical element into another- was theoretically impossible. Baha'u'llah explained that they were mistaken. He wrote that copper (for example) can become gold or vice versa: 'Every mineral can be make to acquire the density, form and substance of each and every other mineral.' Only decades later did physicists realize that elemental atoms are not, as they once thought, the smallest irreducible building blocks of matter. Atoms are composed of still smaller particles that can be separated and recombined, the result being that any element can indeed change into any other. Unfortunately, transmutation (as Baha'u'llah also foresaw) is far from an unmixed blessing. It has opened the door to global holocaust by virtue of its link with nuclear explosive technology. (210:3)
Baha'u'llah.. wrote on several occasions that the alchemists' age- old dream- that of changing copper into gold- was entirely possible.. When this statement was cited by His detractors as proof of His ignorance, Baha'u'llah wrote: Consider the doubts which they... have instilled into the hearts of the people of this land. 'Is is ever possible,' they ask, 'for copper to be transmuted into gold?' Say, Yes, by my Lord, it is possible. Its secret, however, lieth hidden in Our Knowledge... That copper can be turned into gold is in itself sufficient proof that gold can, in like manner, be transmuted into copper... Every mineral can be made to acquire the density, form and substance of each and every other mineral. (Gl 197-8). (211:2)
Elsewhere Baha'u'llah wrote that transmutation of elements would become a reality, and that its achievement would be one of the signs of the coming of age of the human race. He further prophesied that after its discovery a great calamity would threaten the world unless humankind came under the shelter of the Cause of God (quoted in Taherzadeh, 'Revelation of Baha'u'llah', vol 2, p. 268). (212:1)
Transmutation of elements was finally achieved.. early in this century. But.. there was a catch. Changing one element into another is associated with the release of nuclear energy. The two phenomena (transmutation of elements and nuclear energy) are twin aspects of a single process; they are flip sides of the same coin.