Middle Schooler Becomes Youngest Person to Achieve Nuclear Fusion

This boy fused two deuterium atoms together in a reactor he built in his family home!
Derya Ozdemir

This is what happens when kids are given the means and opportunities to follow their dreams: 12-year-old Jackson Oswalt achieved nuclear fusion using the reactor he had built in his house in Memphis, Tennessee, officially making him the world's youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion, per Guinness World Records!

Now, at 15 years old, he has become one of this year's Guinness World Records 2021 edition stars.


DIY'ing nuclear fusion at 12

On a press release released on October 6, Guinness Wolrd Records told the story of Jackson, starting from the time he was first introduced to nuclear fusion to the pandemic days where he has been continuing his research at home.

After learning about nuclear fusion online at the tender age of 12, he wanted to build a reactor by himself.

While many people thought his goal was far-fetched, he didn't care about their doubts, and in the end, he was able to fuse two deuterium atoms together in a fusion reactor he built himself. Jackson said, "I was unable to achieve a strong enough vacuum to 'ignite' the fusion reaction, but with perseverance, I achieved my goal."

He became the youngest person to obtain nuclear fusion

In the video accompanying the announcement, Jackson explained, "I have been able to use electricity to accelerate two atoms of deuterium together so that they fuse together into an atom of helium 3 [isotope], which also releases a neutron which can be used to heat up water and turn a steam engine, which in turn produces electricity."

After three years of achieving nuclear fusion, he is now 15 years old and doesn't conduct experiments as often. Instead, he has been exploring learning material online while widening his knowledge on fields he is interested in.

Saying he is proud of making it into the Guinness World Records 2021 book, he is looking forward to the "next best thing." He could maybe sell his nuclear fusion reactor, just like this New Zealand student who is selling his on TradeMe.

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