- Jackson Oswalt
- 13:00 year(s):day(s)
- United States (Memphis)
The youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion is Jackson Oswalt (USA, b.19 January 2005), who, just hours before his 13th birthday in 2018, fused together two deuterium atoms using a fusor that he had built and operated in the playroom of his family home in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Jackson's achievement was verified by Fusor.net, The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium, on 2 February 2018 and confirmed by fusion researcher Richard Hull, who maintains a list of amateur scientists who have achieved fusion at home.
Jackson was inspired to build his own fusor after reading about teenager Taylor Wilson, who had also created his own fusor. As he writes on Fusor.net, "One day I had a sudden epiphany. I realized that I could be the absolute best at whatever videogame, but in the end it still wouldn't mean much. I realized that, in the grand scheme of things, videogames had no role to play. So, I changed my ways. Immediately I switched to the closest thing to videogames in real life: science. At the time, all I knew was that I wanted to be smart. That was it. I just wanted to be smart. So, instead of watching people play videogames, I would watch physics videos. This led to my discovery of a boy named Taylor Wilson, who had built a reactor at 14 years of age. When I saw it, I just laughed. I thought that it was the easiest way to get on to the news. Boy was I wrong. Eventually, I just couldn't resist the temptation of building a reactor of my own. So, at 11 years old I set out to do it."