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Middle school student achieved nuclear fusion in his family playroom

By Rachel Gluck

Hours before his 13th birthday, Jackson Oswalt (USA) fused together two deuterium atoms using a fusor he had built in the playroom of his family home in Memphis, Tennessee.  

This could only mean one thing. Jackson officially became the world’s youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion

His impressive achievement was verified by, 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 ultimately inspired him to attempt to build a fusor himself, but Jackson clarified that he was the only person to have any involvement in its design or production. 

Jackson was not always convinced he would be able to obtain nuclear fusion and achieve a Guinness World Records title. 

"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 a bit outlandish, but Jackson continued despite the doubts and eventually showed his close circle that his plans were not only real, but were also well thought out.

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 the infinite amount of 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.

Jackson appears alongside other incredible record holders inside this year’s book, order yours now! 

An earlier version of this article stated that Jackson Oswalt had built a "reactor" in is home. This has now been amended to "fusor".