This 13-year old just became the youngest person ever to build a nuclear-fusion reactor
So what were you doing when you were 13? We bet it wasn’t building nuclear reactors for fun. The Atlantic has the story of this extremely smart kid who became the youngest person ever to build a nuclear-fusion reactor.
It started with the Internet.
“One day,” Jamie Edwards recalls, “I was looking on the Internet for radiation or other aspects of nuclear energy.” (As one does.) Through that search, he came across the story of Taylor Wilson, an American who, in 2008, had become the youngest person ever to build a nuclear-fusion reactor. Wilson was 14 at the time.
“I looked at it,” Edwards says, and “thought ‘that looks cool’ and decided to have a go.”
Edwards is 13. He is a student at the Priory Academy in Lancashire, in the U.K. He loves science—so much so that, as he told the Lancashire Evening Post, he used to try and steal his older brother Danny’s science homework. So that he could do that work himself.
Edwards—a “young boffin,” as the Post delightfully calls him—began construction of his makeshift nuclear reactor back in October in a science lab at Priory. He also kept a blog tracking his progress in the work of reactor-building, cataloguing his collection of a diffusion pump and a control panel and other components of the device that would eventually smash some atoms.
This morning, all that work paid off. Edwards smashed two atoms of hydrogen together, creating helium. Yep: From a little science lab in a school in Lancashire, a 13-year-old created nuclear fusion.
“I can’t quite believe it,” Edwards told the Post, of this accomplishment, adding that “all my friends think I am mad.” But he’s also a record-holder—and one who got his record in just under the wire. Edwards turns 14 on Sunday.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.