Conrad Farnsworth lives with his parents in Wyoming, but there’s something different about this teenager: He’s spent the last two years learning about nuclear reactors, and has even successfully built one in his shed.The reactor reaches a temperature of 600 million degrees Fahrenheit, the Huffington Post reports.
Astonishingly, Farnsworth is not alone. He started learning the nuclear reactor craft through other members of the international amateur fusion community. You can find instructions on how to build a nuclear fusion reactor at fusor.net. About 60 people in the U.S. have done it.
To clarify, Farnsworth’s reactor is performing nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is when two atoms are pushed together to form a heavier atom. This is the exact opposite of nuclear fission, which creates energy put out by nuclear power plants and atomic bombs.
Nuclear fusion reactors also don’t create radioactive waste, though they can create isotopes that can be used in medical research.
It is possible, however, to use nuclear fusion to output energy — this is how the sun works. At the sun’s core, it shoves together atoms so hard they make bigger atoms.
Farnsworth’s nuclear success created neutrons by smacking together two hydrogen atoms to make a helium atom.
Here’s the video of Farnsworth’s first nuclear success, for which he won first place at a regional science fair:
He writes in the video description:
I would like to apologise for the nonsense speak in the video (some of it is), I have been pulling several, several, late nighters to get this thing up and running this past week and haven’t gotten much sleep. I would also like to add that I am the first person in the state of Wyoming that has achieved nuclear fusion.
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