Hours before his 13th birthday, Jackson Oswalt (USA) officially became the world’s youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion. 👨🏻🔬
To achieve this, he fused together two deuterium atoms using a reactor he had built.
What's nuclear fusion? Nuclear fusion is when light atoms are smashed together to produce energy.
What's an atom? An atom is a teeny tiny unit of ordinary matter. They're so small that you can't see them using an ordinary microscope. Every solid, liquid, gas, and plasma is composed of atoms.
All of this is super impressive in itself, but even more so when you know Jackson wasn't working in a lab, but just the playroom of his family home in Memphis, Tennessee.
His impressive achievement was verified by Fusor.net, The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium, and confirmed by fusion researcher Richard Hull, who maintains a list of amateur scientists who have achieved fusion at home.
This incredible feat has led him to be one of the stars of this year’s Guinness World Records 2021 edition, alongside other record holders.
Jackson was first introduced to nuclear fusion at just 12 years old while doing research online.
He learned about Taylor Wilson, a self-taught nuclear physicist, who also achieved nuclear fusion at a young age.
This inspired him to attempt to build a reactor himself. However, Jackson was the only person to design and produce his reactor.
"I was unable to achieve a strong enough vacuum to ‘ignite’ the fusion reaction, but with perseverance I achieved my goal." - Jackson Oswalt
As the idea of accomplishing nuclear fusion within an ordinary household seemed impossible at first, Jackson’s family and friends did not understand what he was attempting to do.
Many thought his project was ambitious, but Jackson continued despite the doubts and eventually achieved the incredible record.
Within his home, Jackson’s lab is quite extensive and he describes it as having too many parts to even write down!
Although the pandemic has kept him at home, he's been exploring learning material online and has been able to continue researching his interests.
Now, at 15 years old, Jackson no longer conducts experiments that often, as he’s decided to look for his "next best thing".
Jackson is proud of his accomplishment and making it into the Guinness World Records 2021 book is the cherry on top.