British boy builds fusion reactor

07 March 2014

A thirteen-year-old schoolboy has become the youngest "fusioneer" - a person to build a fusion reactor.

Youngest fusioneer - Jamie Edwards 460
Jamie in front of his fusor

Jamie Edwards, who describes himself as an "amateur nuclear scientist," claims to have achieved fusion earlier this week after researching and building a fusor. The device, originally conceived by television pioneer Philo T Farnsworth, uses a process known as inertial electrostatic confinement where an electric field is used to heat ions to temperatures high enough for fusion to occur.

The pupil at Penwortham Priory Academy in Preston, UK, began building the fusor last November, after his school awarded him a £2000 ($3300) grant and provided him with an under-used laboratory for his project. Describing the reactor, Jamie says, "The reactor consists of many parts, some of the main ones include the vacuum pumps, high voltage supply, vacuum chamber and deuterium system."

If verified by the Open Source Fusor Research Consortium, Jamie - who turns fourteen this weekend - will take the record as the youngest person to achieve fusion from US nuclear scientist Taylor Wilson of Reno, Nevada, who in 2008 built a working fusor in his parents' garage at the age of fourteen.

It was through reading about Wilson that Jamie was inspired to build his own fusor. "One day I came across Taylor Wilson and his reactor on the Internet. I thought that's cool and decided to have a go," Jamie said. "Basically I made a star in a jar."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News