What were you doing when you turned 13? Planning a birthday bash with your best friends? Jackson Oswalt was fusing 2 deuterium atoms in his playroom in Memphis, Tennessee to create nuclear fusion!
Fusor.net and The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium confirmed Oswalt to be the youngest person to achieve fusion at the age of 12. He built the fusor on his own, in his own playroom. Fusion researcher Richard Hull confirmed Oswalt being the youngest ever to achieve this feat. Hull is known to maintain a list of amateur scientists who experiment with nuclear fusion at home. The 2021 edition of Guinness World Records has also featured Oswald and his incredible achievement.
Nuclear Fusion at Home
Oswalt first came across nuclear fusion at the age of 12 while doing online research. He came across the works of Taylor Wilson, a self-taught nuclear physicist. Wilson too had achieved nuclear fusion at a very young age. Full of inspiration, Oswalt decided to build a fusor in his own playroom. He has insisted it was only him who was involved in the designing and production of the fusor. But Oswalt had his doubts of whether he could even achieve nuclear fusion. “I was unable to achieve a strong enough vacuum to ‘ignite’ the fusion reaction, but with perseverance I achieved my goal.”
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Initially Oswalt’s friends and family were quite clueless about his efforts. They were not sure if nuclear fusion could be achieved at home. Many had their doubts, especially since it was all taking place inside a household. But Oswalt was not bothered and kept working hard. He created a detailed plan and showed it to his close ones, leaving them quite shocked.
Oswalt explains his home lab as an extensive lab. With the lockdowns in place, he got plenty of time to new areas of interest. At 15 now, Oswalt wants to move towards other things, away from nuclear experiments. You can check out Oswalt and many such wonderful people who now hold a place in the Guinness World Records, 2021 edition.
Image Credit: Screenshot Jackson Oswalt / Guinness World Records