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Teenager Thiago Olsen posted this picture of his homemade fusion device on a blog page for other amatuer physicists to admire.
A high school senior has achieved nuclear fusion in his parents’ basement.

When he's not running track and cross country at Stoney Creek High School, 17-year-old Thiago Olsen can be found tinkering with items such as high-voltage X-ray transformers, diffusion pumps, and neutron bubble dosimeters. Most of the devices were scrounged from eBay or built from scraps and pieces picked up at the local hardware store.

This teen's dream of fusing two hydrogen atoms by crashing them together to form a single helium nucleus has finally paid off. The proof lies in the images he has published showing a classic "star in a jar" pattern, indicating the presence of neutron bubbles suspended in plasma, the traditional by-product of nuclear fusion.

It's “kind of like the holy grail of physics,” Olsen told reporters from the Detroit Free Press. His accomplishment was recorded by the Web site, where he has been officially declared the 18th member of the Neutron Club, an elite group of private individuals worldwide to have successfully "operated a neutron-producing fusor or fusion system" of their own manufacture.

Some parents might be nervous about the safety of a home-made device designed to create plasma at a temperature of around 200 million degrees -- several times hotter than the core of the sun. Earlier this month, Michigan Department of Health officials inspected the apparatus. "They were impressed, and it checked out," Olsen said.

The high school senior's goal of competing at the May 2007 International Science Fair in Albuquerque still has a flicker of a chance. Olsen was a finalist at the 50th Science & Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit last week, but his entry "Neutron Activation Using an Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion Reactor," will need to take top honors at the Michigan Science Fair in Flint on March 31 to keep his hopes alive.

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By oTAL on 3/27/2007 2:31:23 PM , Rating: 1
"plasma at a temperature of around 200 million degrees -- several times hotter than the core of the sun"

Is this correct? Something seems wrong to me since the sun is a fusion reactor with hydrogen being constantly fused to helium... maybe you meant the surface of the sun? Please correct me if I'm wrong...

RE: Temperatures....
By michal1980 on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Temperatures....
By athlonotaku on 3/27/2007 2:55:48 PM , Rating: 3
The Surface of the sun has a temperature of 5800ºK or 9980.6 ºF

The core of the Sun(where Hydrogen Fusion takes place)has a temperature of 15,500,000ºK or 27899540.6 ºF

RE: Temperatures....
By athlonotaku on 3/27/2007 2:57:51 PM , Rating: 2
Let me add that these are the "average" temperatures of the sun.

RE: Temperatures....
By Tsuwamono on 4/3/2007 11:26:25 AM , Rating: 2
figured that by the decimals and the accuracy since no heat source especially natural can stay at a stable temperature like that

RE: Temperatures....
By HaZaRd2K6 on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Temperatures....
By HaZaRd2K6 on 3/27/07, Rating: 0
RE: Temperatures....
By fxer on 3/27/2007 3:39:05 PM , Rating: 4
You were probably thinking about the difference between the surface and chromosphere temperatures. The surface is ~6000K, the chromosphere is 1,000,000K.

RE: Temperatures....
By Xajel on 3/27/2007 11:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
nope at all

Core : 15000000
Surface : 6000 ( 4000 on black spots )
Atmosphere : 1000000

these are just average, the core may get upto 19mil, surface may have tuched the 10k mark, black spots varies from one to one, atmosphere also varies, the lava things some time sun surface throght all over to it's atmosphere ( wich is much much much larger than earth or even our largets planets ) may reach 2mil easly

RE: Temperatures....
By lethalchronic on 3/28/2007 11:15:11 AM , Rating: 3
"Correct. The surface is hotter than the core. But still hot enough to melt your face off from several thousand feet."

Sereral thousand feet? It heats our entire planet from 90 million miles away...

RE: Temperatures....
By cochy on 3/27/2007 3:00:53 PM , Rating: 4
Yes you are confused. The surface of the Sun is actually a lot cooler than the corona (atmosphere) of the Sun, where it is about a thousand times hotter. Maybe that's what you were thinking about.

RE: Temperatures....
By AntDX316 on 3/30/2007 3:45:18 AM , Rating: 2
all the posts above me r confusing

dont post unless ur facts r straight lol

RE: Temperatures....
By sprockkets on 3/27/2007 2:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
if i remember right, our star is orange in color and there are other stars that are white or blue in color and are much hotter, so yeah, guess it is possible.

RE: Temperatures....
By Fiebre on 3/27/2007 2:59:32 PM , Rating: 2
The sun emites white light. If it was orange all objects would appear to have an orange hue on earth.

RE: Temperatures....
By Torkuda on 3/27/2007 3:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, sunlight is blue, incandescent light is orange/yellow and your average fluorescent light is green.

RE: Temperatures....
By sviola on 3/27/2007 4:41:09 PM , Rating: 1
Sunlight is not blue. It's white. If it were blue it would look like fluorescent lamps. And it does not.

RE: Temperatures....
By glennpratt on 3/28/2007 10:07:30 AM , Rating: 1
No it's not. Sunlight is white (aka a mixture of many spectrum's that humans have become accustomed to). Blue is scattered in the atmosphere giving the actual sun a yellow appearance when viewed.

RE: Temperatures....
By masher2 on 3/27/2007 3:15:54 PM , Rating: 4
The sun does not emit "white" light. The sun is a G2-class star, which means its spectrum lies primarily in the yellow-orange. Over millions of years, our eyes have adapted to this spectrum, which is why objects illuminated with it appear most natural.

RE: Temperatures....
By ChronoReverse on 3/27/2007 3:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
The Sun has a spectral class of G2V. "G2" means that it has a surface temperature of approximately 5,500 K, giving it a white color

Is this entry in the wikipedia incorrect then?

RE: Temperatures....
By cochy on 3/27/2007 3:53:29 PM , Rating: 6
The Sun gives off all manner of electromagnetic radiation. The part of this spectrum that we can detect with our eye is called visible light, which goes from violet to red. If you combine all these colors you get white light. This is a function of our eye/brian, colors that is. What exactly color the Sun appears to be is a function of it's temperature. To a dog maybe the Sun looks blue. Our brain for whatever reason detects the template of colors we see, we call it white light and it's a portion of the radiation outputted by the Sun.

RE: Temperatures....
By cochy on 3/27/2007 4:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
What exactly color the Sun appears to be is a function of it's temperature.

That should read: What the exact color the Sun is , would be a function of it's temperature.

Sun appears white to us. The Sun is a yellow star.

Damn sorry for triple posting lol.

RE: Temperatures....
By Sebec on 3/28/2007 12:29:04 AM , Rating: 5
Dogs are color blind.

RE: Temperatures....
By cochy on 3/28/2007 3:32:47 AM , Rating: 4
RE: Temperatures....
By cochy on 3/27/2007 4:03:59 PM , Rating: 3
...So yes the Sun is white, because we see it's visible light (white light). No the entry is not wrong. But as has been pointed out, the Sun is a yellow star.

RE: Temperatures....
By feraltoad on 3/27/2007 4:53:13 PM , Rating: 5
Haven't we all seen enough Superman cartoons to not need have this debate?

RE: Temperatures....
By BillyBatson on 3/28/2007 3:01:13 AM , Rating: 3
that's exactly what i was thinking! hahaha

RE: Temperatures....
By thegrimreaper3 on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Temperatures....
By Lakku on 3/27/2007 5:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
Huh, that's funny, cuz I sure as hell used it. Then again, I usually had a number of other sources as well, but it is viable source material, seeing as how much of it is just a copy of information you can easily find elsewhere. It just so happens Wikipedia has it all in one place put there by users. If your profs won't let you use it, they are quite close minded and dare I say, idiotic. And yes, I was a history major and wrote DOZENS of 5 to 30 page papers on various subjects, each usually having 5 to 15 sources, some primary, with a number of those papers citing wikipedia as one of them.

RE: Temperatures....
By cochy on 3/27/2007 5:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
Normally professors will not want people using any encyclopedia as a reference. This is simply because encyclopedias, like wikipedia, are not the original sources of the information. Professors want students going to the original sources. An encyclopedia will cite their original source, so you merely need to go read and reference those.

So all these Wikipedia bans you are hearing about should not lead people to believe that Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information, merely that it is not an original source. Same goes to Britanica etc.

RE: Temperatures....
By Aikouka on 3/28/2007 5:37:43 AM , Rating: 2
Cochy, in my collegiate days, professors allowed encyclopedia references on research papers... which is understandable as I think we tend to refer to them as "regurgitation papers."

But if you were writing a psychology paper (for example) on some sort of test you ran, the number of encyclopedia sources should be quite low as only to bring up well-solidified facts or averages (such as the average weight of a human brain or something like that).

I think the mention of "bans of wikipedia" tends to be flagrantly overdone in the media as an outright ban, when I believe it's the measure taken against students attempting to use encyclopedia references as citations in an improper manner.

RE: Temperatures....
By rykerabel on 3/28/2007 10:27:09 AM , Rating: 2
you are correct cochy, but only at higher caliber schools/classes (though even my middle school and high school teachers did not allow encyclopedia references)

most college english courses are actually just remedial english and thus just getting people to use even encyclopedias is a miracle.

RE: Temperatures....
By jnypts on 3/27/2007 6:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well you shouldn't have been using it. Any serious paper will only be using secondary sources that are peer reviewed and published. Wikipedia is a great place to start, but has no business in any bibliography.

RE: Temperatures....
By Rugar on 3/28/2007 12:30:19 PM , Rating: 3
I TA classes in Biology and Biochemistry at a major University while I am finishing my Ph.D. Neither myself nor the course professors allow citations of Wiki articles just like we don't allow "grey" literature such an trade journals or newspapers. The reason for this is simple, they are not peer-reviewed. The peer-review process is far from perfect but it does allow for fact checking and review of conclusions that doesn't always occur in grey journals.

Wikipedia is a good source for review and should be used as such. From the wiki page for any given subject (look up PCR for a good example) you can get a good "encyclopedia" level understanding of a subject but you should go to the references in the article if you want to find citations for particular points.

RE: Temperatures....
By athlonotaku on 3/27/2007 8:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
Its true that you cannot cite wikipedia in college, or at least it isn't recommended.

However, his statement is correct. I can verify this because I've got an astronomy book sitting in front of me. :)

RE: Temperatures....
By Hawkido on 3/30/2007 2:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, all you Spectrograph operators feel free to correct me, but if what I remember from college chemistry is correct...

As an element absorbs energy its electrons orbit at a greater distance. As the electrons' orbit decays down to is more natural orbit it releases light energy. The spectrum of the light emitted is determined by the element. Hydrogen is the only element that emitts pure white light. Helium emits a yellowish-orange band of light.

as the sun fuses hydrogen into helium, I would have to say the sun emits a fair mixture of both white and yellow-orange light. It's really not a matter of temperature as much as it is a matter of how much energy it takes to move the electron away from the proton. The more electrons around a neucleus the less energy is required to make them move, since hydrogen has only one electron it requires the greatest level of energy to move the electron far enough away to make it produce light in the visible spectrum. If you were to heat (with a powerful blow torch let's say) a mixed bowl of elements the color of the glow would change through a myriad spectrum as each element was heated to the proper level for visible light, until hydrogen began to glow, at that point it begins to fill in the spectum gaps with sufficient intensity and begin to wash out the color until it is pure white. If the heat energy becomes too great for some of the heavier elements they begin to emit gamma radiation as a non visible light, then it will begin to shed electrons as beta radiation, then once enough electrons have been shed the protons and neutrons will not be held to the neucleus and will be shed as alpha radiation and neutron radiation. Thus a strong enough energy source can literally fling your electrons off of your atoms and let your protons and neutrons fly free reducing you to sub atomic matter.

As to the corona being hotter, once the energy of the sun has been spread out; the sub atomic particles will once again begin attracting each other thus condensing into elements, ocasionally causing fusion in open space (generating more heat), recreating a wide variety of elements to blast out into the solar system as dust.

But that's just the thoughts of a country boy from Arkansas.

RE: Temperatures....
By mrkun on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Temperatures....
By cochy on 3/27/2007 5:38:31 PM , Rating: 3
What proof? Human eye is set up one way. A dog's eye is set up another way and a bird's eye is set up yet another way. According to each, the world is lit up "most naturally". It's all relative. What's so intelligent about this?

RE: Temperatures....
By Chernobyl68 on 3/27/2007 5:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
Gee, I'm guessing it was because that kind of light has been around the know, before fire and all...

RE: Temperatures....
By redfirebird15 on 3/27/2007 8:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
Um, you can't use proof and God in the same sentence.

RE: Temperatures....
By Whedonic on 3/27/07, Rating: 0
RE: Temperatures....
By glennpratt on 3/28/2007 10:10:10 AM , Rating: 2
No you can't really. All philosophers? Where did you come up with that. Most religions are built on an idea of faith, not proof.

RE: Temperatures....
By masher2 on 3/28/2007 12:40:53 PM , Rating: 1
"All" philosophers is a bit strong, but quite a few have devised elaborate proofs for the existence (or nonexistence) of a god or gods. The 'ontological' and 'teleological' proofs are just two such examples of such.

RE: Temperatures....
By oTAL on 3/28/2007 7:01:20 AM , Rating: 2
I don't believe this was a stupid question so there was no reason to mod it so low...
And the truth is that noone answered it effectively yet... people mentioned the temperature of the sun's surface, core, the color it emits, blah blah blah... all that is pretty interesting but most I knew or could learn with a quick search.
So... I will clarify the question... Does a fusion reactor really get hotter than the sun? Why?
I believe this question makes sense because the sun is just a large fusion reactor contained in a gravitational field. An explanation for that question is pretty harder to find...

If you believe this is a stupid question them please, by all means, downmod me again...

P.S. One person did offer a hint to the answer I was looking for by mentioning blue and white stars which are supposed to be hotter than the sun....

RE: Temperatures....
By nrb on 3/28/2007 11:43:51 AM , Rating: 5
"plasma at a temperature of around 200 million degrees -- several times hotter than the core of the sun"

Is this correct? Something seems wrong to me since the sun is a fusion reactor with hydrogen being constantly fused to helium... maybe you meant the surface of the sun? Please correct me if I'm wrong...
I presume you are expressing surprise about the fact that fusion occurs in the Sun at a temperature much lower than the temperatures required to produce fusion on Earth? This actually makes sense: the key is pressure . The pressure at the core of the sun is vastly beyond anything that can be achieved on Earth. This means there are far more hydrogen nucleii per unit of volume, which means they collide a lot more often and are thus more likely to fuse. If we could achieve Sun-core pressures on Earth then we could achieve fusion at Sun-core teperatures too; but we can't, so we have to step the temperature up a lot higher.

RE: Temperatures....
By oTAL on 3/28/2007 11:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you :)
That is exactly what I was asking! I would rate you up if I could...
That means that with a good containment you don't need that much temperature, correct?
Problem is no physical container is good enough... By using magnetic containment does it make it possible to create fusion using much lower temperatures? Is that the secret to extracting more power than the one provided to maintain the reaction?
And does that mean that the energy collected from a fusion reactor like ITER is in the form of heat? Or is it possible to directly extract other forms of energy from a nuclear reaction...?

RE: Temperatures....
By amsalp on 4/2/2007 2:50:57 PM , Rating: 2
it's difficult to confine high pressure using magnetic fields currently achievable on earth. ITER will achieve about 3% beta, or the ratio of plasma pressure to magntic field pressure. The sun is quite inefficient at producing fusion reactions for it's size and pressure because of the low temperatures. On earth, fusion is most favored for Deuterium-Tritium at about 1.2 billion degrees, but at 300 million (ITER core plasma temperatures) the tails of the velocity distribution fuses. THe trick is confinement of heat. You don't want to heat up lots of particles to 200 million degrees without getting enough fusion. That is why fusion is easy...all you need is a grid of 25,000 volts (25keV is equivalent to 300 million degrees) and some deuterium. That is what the fusor is. Getting more energy out of fusion than you put into heating the fuel is the real challenge.

The energy coming out of current fusion reactors such as ITER using D-T is in neutrons.
D+T -> He(3.5MeV) + n(14.1MeV)
The neutron is not confined by magnetic fields and escapes into a blanket. The heat is capture to turn turbines.

he's gonna lose to the baking soda volcano...
By cubeless on 3/27/2007 2:14:29 PM , Rating: 6
how does he expect to win with something boring like that?

By Misty Dingos on 3/27/2007 2:22:09 PM , Rating: 4
He will come in behind the hamster powered radio also.

RE: he's gonna lose to the baking soda volcano...
By FITCamaro on 3/27/2007 3:59:25 PM , Rating: 3
No because those are already being sold. You just know them as the Honda Civic.

By Spartan Niner on 3/27/2007 7:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the overclocking potential. Add bling and you've got a riced-out Civic.

By Misty Dingos on 3/28/2007 8:01:32 AM , Rating: 2
Now that was funny. ROFL!

RE: he's gonna lose to the baking soda volcano...
By arazok on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: he's gonna lose to the baking soda volcano...
By jskirwin on 3/27/2007 2:43:29 PM , Rating: 4
Earlier this month, Michigan Department of Health officials inspected the apparatus. "They were impressed, and it checked out," Olsen said.

Like they knew what to look for...

They were just happy that they went home and didn't glow in the dark.

By Mitch101 on 3/27/2007 3:51:37 PM , Rating: 3
I bet they didnt even know what the hell it was.

By fic2 on 3/27/2007 4:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
I was just thinking the same thing. After seeing what a waste having the building I live in "inspected" by a building inspector and having so many things that weren't done to code break down over the last several years I see gov't inspectors more a waste than anything else.

Before he pointed it out to them they were probably looking at the house furnace.

By Adonlude on 3/28/2007 12:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure that at least one of them brought an electric guitar to plug into it in case they needed to drain its energy do avoid a nuclear explosion.

By frobizzle on 3/28/2007 8:11:59 AM , Rating: 2
God did the same thing like 10 billion years ago, only way better. And this guy gets an award?

Please check your facts. That was the year God lost the Science Fair contest!!

By Narutoyasha76 on 3/27/2007 2:59:06 PM , Rating: 2
Kudos to him but really it would have been better if he designed an emitter that generates electromagnetic waves on a closed radius to manipulate light waves on the visible scale in order to create live color 3D Images...then maybe I could go and use a PS3 and justify it's price.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/27/2007 5:39:24 PM , Rating: 3
It’s just a glorified vacuum cleaner…where are the two metal balls with bolts of lighting bouncing between them? Without the two metal balls he has nothing…and of course needs a big red button that says “FIRE”. Then he’d have something cool.

By ScythedBlade on 3/30/2007 5:00:53 PM , Rating: 3
Sadly, some people can win these projects by saying "Wikipedia is a reliable source because it is open source and has a lot of sources." Actually yea, we were kinda pissed off in NYSEF when some kid actually won it with a conclusion with that ...

Best luck to him, and hope he doesn't get jipped for being one of the rare people who was able to make it ...

And btw ... how the hell did you get a perma 6?

By Mitch101 on 3/27/2007 3:47:41 PM , Rating: 1
Thiago Olsen can be found tinkering with items such as high-voltage X-ray transformers, diffusion pumps, and neutron bubble dosimeters.

I dont even know what half of these items are but I bet I could kick his ass.

That made me feel so much better about myself. As I realize my life is a waste of space now.

By lumbergeek on 3/27/2007 3:54:02 PM , Rating: 3
I know what those are, but you could probably kick my ass too......

By Mitch101 on 3/27/2007 4:01:36 PM , Rating: 2
You know the sad part of this is that about 100 people out there who arent that talented are going to try and do something like this and BOOM! Of course Im not smart enough to know if it would make a boom but I think it would.

Do you think his friends call him Doc Oct now?

Think we can get some light sabers soon?

By Micronite on 3/27/2007 4:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
That is called evolution.

By saratoga on 3/27/2007 4:48:04 PM , Rating: 1
Natural selection you mean . . .

By Etsp on 3/28/2007 10:25:15 AM , Rating: 4
Bah, natural selection is being killed by welfare and safety labels.

By Bladen on 3/28/2007 4:53:40 AM , Rating: 1
Could kick his arse, yet you frequent a tech site?

By GoatMonkey on 3/28/2007 8:49:20 AM , Rating: 2
It's probably the same kid who got the atomic wedgie and had to go to the hospital.

What happens later?
By hubajube on 3/27/2007 3:22:12 PM , Rating: 5
You think he'll sell it on Ebay after he's done?

RE: What happens later?
By Sulphademus on 3/27/2007 3:57:00 PM , Rating: 5
But how much shipping will JihadFan have to pay to ship it to Tehran?

RE: What happens later?
By typo101 on 3/27/2007 5:58:01 PM , Rating: 2
oh so wrong but oh so funny. thank you everybody for making this bit of news my favorite all week!

Popular Science?
By TimberJon on 3/27/2007 2:28:59 PM , Rating: 1
I think I read an article on this in Pop Sci or Scientific American magazine about 2 weeks ago or more.. Not quite new news to me. I follow just about everything fusion related.

RE: Popular Science?
By gorka on 3/27/2007 3:37:49 PM , Rating: 5
Thermalright will need to add at least another 4 heatpipes on their Ultra 120, to cool this thing.

RE: Popular Science?
By Psychless on 3/27/2007 9:48:16 PM , Rating: 4
He might even need two tubes of Arctic Silver 5.

p**ssed parents
By maevinj on 3/27/2007 3:49:04 PM , Rating: 4
His parents are going to be p**ssed when they see their power bill!

RE: p**ssed parents
By kentbob on 3/27/2007 4:38:12 PM , Rating: 1
Are you kidding, he is supplementing the whole block!

RE: p**ssed parents
By knowyourenemy on 3/27/2007 6:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
Hell, I'd buy that for 20$! He'll make a killing!

RE: p**ssed parents
By Whedonic on 3/27/2007 10:25:58 PM , Rating: 3
It actually takes a lot more energy to run than it puts out... real fusion reactors (ie ones that actually have a net output of power) don't exist yet.

Old Hat
By lamestlamer on 3/27/2007 9:40:21 PM , Rating: 2
Fusors are nothing new. Electrostatic acceleration is the oldest and easiest way to get particles up to useful speeds to probe for new physics. A fusor is simply a spherical geometetry potential well that accelerates outlying hydrogen atoms into a central collision zone. The continuous accelerations of the deuterium by the field combined with collisions with the voltage sources produce a fairly lossy environment. A fusor is fairly worthless beyond being a tinkertoy.

RE: Old Hat
By Whedonic on 3/27/2007 10:27:50 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't stop them from being cool :P

RE: Old Hat
By Bruce 1337 on 3/28/2007 4:05:18 AM , Rating: 3
Let me guess, you ended up being the 19th member of the Neutron Club?

RE: Old Hat
By Hoser McMoose on 3/30/2007 12:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
Let me guess, you ended up being the 19th member of the Neutron Club?

That would actually be one "Wayne Rodgers". The list is up to 21 now.

Not to belittle this guys experiment in any way, but this sort of thing actually isn't all that new, people have been building fusors for a while now (first ones were back in the '60s). He's not even the first high school student to build one in his basement.

Definitely a cool science fair project and the kids got to have some smarts to build it, but it's not exactly going to revolutionize the world. The real trick will be when someone builds one of these fusors that generates more power than what they put into it and will do so for an extended (at least a few minutes) period of time. Dr. Bussard (one of the pioneers in this field) claims to have a design (but no prototype) that will do just that, though as is usually the case with such things, "I'll believe it when I see it".

Michigan Teen Builds Nuclear Fusion Device
By vortmax on 3/27/2007 3:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
Stick the word "Cold" before Fusion and I bet this kid will win that science fair...

RE: Michigan Teen Builds Nuclear Fusion Device
By Micronite on 3/27/2007 4:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it's just me, but when I hear 200 million degrees, I typically think "Hot" not "Cold".

By FITCamaro on 3/27/2007 5:40:53 PM , Rating: 3

Fusion at room temperature. He was saying if the kid solved that problem then he'd win without question. As well as get assassinated by the oil companies....

The Finishing Touch
By Tedtalker1 on 3/27/2007 4:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
All it needs now is a Flux Capicitor and HAL to introduce it at the fair.

RE: The Finishing Touch
By spwatkins on 3/27/2007 5:36:38 PM , Rating: 4
If you have the flux capacitor you can go fetch a Mr. Fusion.

Not exactly new...
By Suomynona on 3/28/2007 1:13:14 AM , Rating: 3
Brilliant teens have been finding ways to irradiate themselves for some time now. Check out this Harpers article from a few years back about a high school student who built a breeder reactor in his backyard.
you can find an abridged version here:

Imagine what the neighbors thought when the feds in bunny suits came by to dismantle it.

RE: Not exactly new...
By Suomynona on 3/28/2007 1:17:13 AM , Rating: 3
So wait...
By PointlesS on 3/27/2007 9:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
the 18th person in the world to not only use but build a nuclear fusion device and he might not win the science fair?

RE: So wait...
By 91TTZ on 3/28/2007 12:39:00 PM , Rating: 3
The 18th private individual. There have been plenty of people affiliated with schools and organizations that have done it.

By slash196 on 3/27/2007 5:05:26 PM , Rating: 1
So is this anything besides an interesting human-interest story? As I recall, fusion is something of a big deal. But I find this article EXTREMELY hard to believe, as well. Never discount the power of genius, but this sounds like a prank to me.

RE: well
By mkrech on 3/28/2007 10:37:40 AM , Rating: 2
"Michigan Department of Health officials inspected the apparatus"

I am sure they didn't have the slightest clue what they were looking at.

By otispunkmeyer on 3/29/2007 4:12:24 AM , Rating: 2

*gives it a tap with right foot*

"seems sturdy enough to me, how about you dave?"
"yeah looks good"

"right Olsen, just sign here and we'll be off before our sperm grow 3 tails"

Wow !!
By DeadPooL on 3/27/2007 2:15:17 PM , Rating: 3
Good for him, he must be very gifted :) I made a song on my guitar last week :( Hmmm me wonders If am using my free time wisely. G Luck at the fair.

By thejez on 3/27/2007 2:26:20 PM , Rating: 3
now i see what i doing wrong....

One question
By FITCamaro on 3/27/2007 4:04:11 PM , Rating: 1
How does that thing handle temperatures of 200 million degrees Celsius? Johnny 5 looked better built then that.

RE: One question
By cochy on 3/27/2007 4:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
lol nice one.

By codeThug on 3/29/2007 3:47:30 PM , Rating: 3
How long till Exxon and BP mark this kid for termination?

Poplular science
By scrapsma54 on 3/27/2007 6:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
This was in popular science. BTw, this kid better get a scholarship.

A bit late there...
By JCE10 on 3/28/2007 5:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't this on hackaday awhile ago? Oh well.

OMG How can no one notice, APRIL FOOLS!
By Sylar on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: OMG How can no one notice, APRIL FOOLS!
By DOSGuy on 3/28/2007 3:23:53 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not smart enough to make a fusion reactor, but I'm pretty sure that an April Fool's joke has to be played on April Fool's Day.

RE: OMG How can no one notice, APRIL FOOLS!
By Sylar on 3/28/2007 9:30:45 AM , Rating: 2
No, usually an April Fool's joke could be played prior but *revealed* that it was in fact a joke on April Fool's day.

Seriously... a high school student builds nuclear fusion reactor in his mother's basement and only takes 50th place on a science fair?

By DocAndHisBirds on 3/29/2007 6:47:39 PM , Rating: 3
I believe the reason for scoring so low in the science fair is the fact that the young man simply made a device whose design has been around for many years. This is a nice engineering feat, but not really a scientific one. Science fairs are designed to teach youngsters about science. Therefore, in order to win a science fair, one should develop a hypothesis and then test it through experimentation, which is not what this boy did.

RE: OMG How can no one notice, APRIL FOOLS!
By Frazzle on 3/28/2007 9:27:38 AM , Rating: 2
The story is not outrageous at all. He's not even the first high-school kid to make one. It's a device called a Farnsworth Fusor and the design has been around for decades.

Don't confuse "fusion reaction" with "fusion reactor" either. This design does not have the capacity to produce a surplus of energy via a fusion reaction. If it did we would have already been using fusion power since the 50s or 60s.

By DocAndHisBirds on 3/29/2007 7:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. This device is capable of producing fusion one (or maybe a few) atom at a time. While it is true that the reaction does, in fact, produce energy, the amount of energy produced is so small as to be non-measurable with any equipment this teenager was likely to have. That is why he had to demonstrate the fact that fusion occured simply by displaying the portion of the energy that was emitted that lay within the visible light spectrum.

Are you kidding me?
By mydogfarted on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Are you kidding me?
By Psychless on 3/27/2007 9:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, we all think of Sony when we're reading an article on nuclear fusion. This is a technology website not a call people geeks and go randomly off-topic website.

Kudos for him, but...
By kattanna on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Kudos for him, but...
By Jawadali on 3/27/2007 5:24:37 PM , Rating: 5
Totally uncalled for comment; On a more related note, it's great to see young people interested in science, because that's certainly becoming rare.

RE: Kudos for him, but...
By TheDoc9 on 3/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: Kudos for him, but...
By kattanna on 3/28/2007 10:39:26 AM , Rating: 1
Totally uncalled for comment

no..its not. Do you honestly think that if it was some muslim kid, and not some rich white kid, there wouldnt have been an FBI terror investigation?

RE: Kudos for him, but...
By masher2 on 3/28/2007 12:54:32 PM , Rating: 4
> "you honestly think that if it was some muslim kid, and not some rich white kid, there wouldnt have been an FBI terror investigation?"

Nonsense. First of all, he's certainly not rich and, given he's half-Brazilian, the term "white" may be a bit of a misnomer as well. Secondly, there are many hundreds of similar devices currently in US universities and research labs...many of them built and/or operated by those with Muslim backgrounds (there were half a dozen in my own physics department alone). None of them have ever been "investigated by the FBI" without reason.

I think you're being emotionally swayed by the word "fusion" in the name. These things generate fewer nuclear reactions than your average banana (which contains a great deal of radioactive potassium).

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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