Weekend Fun: Nuclear Fusion In Your Basement
With the free world focused on the nuclear ambitions of Iran and Korea, a 17 year-old student has achieved nuclear fusion in his parents basement. After two years of diligent work and 1,000 hours of research, Thiago Olson managed to achieve nuclear fusion with bits and pieces bought on the internet and scoured from manufacturers at a discount. It includes “a piece of equipment taken from an old mammogram machine”, which provides the 40,000 volt charge necessary to provoke fusion in deuterium gas injected into a steel vacuum chamber.
Nuclear fusion wasn’t Olsen’s orginal aim, originally, he wanted to build a hyperbaric chamber, his mother revealed to a local newspaper. Olsen was a semifinalist this year in the Siemens Foundation’s National Research Competition and plans to enter the Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit next year, and thereafter qualify for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. His long-term aim is to work for the federal government.
According to a website that tracks such things, Olsen is the eighteenth amateur to achieve nuclear fusion. The site has more background to the “Inertial Electrostatic Confinement” approach to fusion as developed by Philo Farnsworth back in the 1960s, which forms the basis of the young man’s machine.