A teen scientist from Penwortham, England, has become the youngest person in the world to build a functioning nuclear fusion reactor.
Jamie Edwards, 13, constructed the reactor from scratch to beat the 2008 record of American Taylor Wilson, who was 14 when he built his reactor. Edwards didn’t have much time to spare as he turns 14 on Sunday; the reactor was completed on Tuesday and it worked successfully the following day when two atoms of hydrogen smashed together to form helium.
“Yesterday I successfully achieved fusion at 11:30 am, this was brilliant! I am waiting from fusor.net for confirmation that I have actually done fusion but looking at the results I am almost certain I have… The reactor consists of many parts, some of the main ones include the vacuum pumps, high voltage supply, vacuum chamber and deutirium system,” Edwards wrote on his blog on Thursday.
Edwards received help from his classmates and his head teacher with the project.
“One day, I was looking on the Internet for radiation or other aspects of nuclear energy and I came across Taylor Wilson and his reactor,” Edwards told the Lancashire Evening Post. “I looked at it, thought ‘that looks cool’ and decided to have a go. Basically I made a star in a jar. It’s amazing really, quite a feat, to be from Penwortham and be the youngest person in the world to do this.”
Edwards’ accomplishment is certainly surprising, but perhaps it shouldn’t be. The young man is so interested in science that he used to take his older brother’s homework and try to do it for him.
“It is quite an achievement,” Edwards told the Lancashire Evening Post. “It’s magnificent really. I can’t quite believe it — even though all my friends think I am mad.”