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I propound to you a mystery.

Several centuries ago it was necessary to prove it impossible to remove funding from the fraudsters so that science could advance. In the twentieth century it was accomplished to prove our science had advanced.

You can read this as either a riddle or a Jeopardy question. It works either way. There really isn't anything devious here; a straightforward approach should solve it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is this supposed to be a puzzle? $\endgroup$ – mmking Jul 31 '15 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ It's either a riddle or a jeopardy question depending on how you read it. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Jul 31 '15 at 2:11
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't obvious from your question. As it stands, it looks nothing like a puzzle. Maybe edit that info into the post? $\endgroup$ – mmking Jul 31 '15 at 2:15
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Converting mercury into gold?

Several centuries ago it was necessary to prove it impossible to remove funding from the fraudsters so that science could advance.

Some alchemists were frauds that spoiled the name of science for personal gain. They often claimed that they had magical abilities to turn mercury to gold, and gained wealth and power for themselves, even though they couldn't really do it.

In the twentieth century it was accomplished to prove our science had advanced.

Gold was synthesized from mercury by neutron bombardment in 1941.

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  • $\begingroup$ Was supposed to be lead into gold but it's small enough difference to make no difference. $\endgroup$ – Joshua Jul 31 '15 at 5:01

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