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Michigan Teen Creates Fusion Device

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the fire-in-the-hole dept.

460

Josh Lindenmuth writes "The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Thiago Olson, a 17 year old Michigan teen, was able to create a small fusion device in his parents' basement. The machine uses a 40,000 volt charge and deuterium gas to create the small reaction, which he says looks like a 'small intense ball of energy.' The teen's fusion device is obviously not a self-sustaining reactor, but it still shows how fusion technology is becoming more accessible. Hopefully this points to a future where large scale fusion reactors are both economical and widely used."

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What colour is energy? (1, Funny)

k33l0r (808028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926786)

'small intense ball of energy.'


Could somebody please tell me what energy looks like? I really have no idea.

Re:What colour is energy? (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926892)

Take the back cover off of a really old TV and tap the tip of a screwdriver across the back circuit of the picture tube. A ball of energy should melt the tip of the screwdriver and/or throw you back 20 feet and/or turn your hair white.

Re:What colour is energy? (2, Interesting)

k33l0r (808028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926960)

I was thinking that perhaps it is that sort of glowing blue that you get in movies. Or perhaps the glowing green that gets associated with radiation?

Re:What colour is energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927134)

Look between the legs of any alpha male...see those two wrinkled brown sacks?

If you have a green ball in each hand, what do you have...? A hell of a hold on the Jolly Green Giant!

Re:What colour is energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927252)

ask ross jeffries

Been done before (-1, Troll)

Spunkee (183938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926788)

This has been replicated over 300 times. Maybe 500. Old news. Real news will be when our government finally funds this research.

Re:Been done before (4, Funny)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926818)

If he really managed it, the real news will be when he manages to procreate. Those 14KeV fusion neutrons play very interesting games with DNA. That is if he really managed to get any fusion to succeed which I doubt.

Re:Been done before (2)

Madman (84403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927136)

He's never gonna get laid anyway, so why should he worry about it?

Re:Been done before (4, Funny)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927310)

And people keep telling us that USA kids don't do science. Shit.

Re:Been done before (4, Interesting)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927146)

Making a fusion reactor [brian-mcdermott.com] is relatively easy, albeit somewhat dangerous, like you said.

From here [brian-mcdermott.com] :

As with any nuclear-related project, safety must be taken into consideration.

[...]

* Radiation; this should be the least of your worries until about 15,000 volts of acceleration potential. At this point, x-rays start to emanate from viewports due to electron and ion bombardment of metals in the chamber. Always use a camera or mirror to peer into the viewport. X-rays can cause burns and lead to cancer. Above 40,000 volts, x-rays will start to come through the stainless steel chamber walls. At this point, you will need to use lead shielding. Neutron radiation is the most dangerous form of radiation known to man, but the fusor does not put out enough of it to be dangerous until about 45,000 volts. It can easily be shielded with water, wax or plastic. You can also minimize your exposure by standing well away from the fusor, or by operating it for only 20 minutes per week.

More safety info [kronjaeger.com] .

Really, it's that pesky part where we try to actually make it produce energy and break even that is stumping us right now.

Re:Been done before (1)

elerran (1001939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927040)

Have a look at this:
Quote, from the article on BBC regarding the building of the experimental fusion reaction in France.
The deal, to be finalised in Paris, follows years of talks between South Korea, Russia, China, the EU, the US, India and Japan.
Seems like your government is involved in fusion research
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6165932. stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Been done before (5, Insightful)

thekm (622569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927176)

"This has been replicated over 300 times. Maybe 500. Old news"

this is the statement of an asshole. Why make an almost asinine comment like this?... a 17 year old applied himself in a very unsual way that shows intelligence, aptitude, application, and determination. Researched, developed and built a remarkable machine. Sure, it's been demonstrated since the 20's, but you probably read about it in a book at best. Or looked up on wikipedia that it was first done in the 20's.

Most people just read about things. Others do things. Knowing things and not doing is borderline redundant. Hearing of something being done for a long time and never even remotely applying yourself even within 1%, and then criticising and reducing the absolutely remarkable efforts of others is borderline criminal. Get a life, but more importantly, get some perspective.

I'd love to see a picture of your fusion machine, or anything even remotely demonstrating the independent application of intelligence. People that make these kinds of comments rarely partake in anything of the kind.

Re:Been done before (0)

Spunkee (183938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927360)

What the kid did is amazing. All CF experiments are, and I'm happy to see any progress in the field. The "old news" part was a bit of a joke? Good god man.

Re:Been done before (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927338)

Fuck off, junior-college dipshit.

Re:Been done before (1)

Spunkee (183938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927418)

Sensitive are we? It is old news. Good news. Interesting news. But nothing new. Jesus christ what's wrong with you people are touchy. Mod the post as flamebait no less.

What's up with Michigan? (4, Interesting)

Quixote (154172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926796)

What is there in the water in Michigan? A few years ago a teen in Michigan created a nuclear fission reactor [amazon.com] ; now this guy one ups him and creates fusion ?

Re:What's up with Michigan? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927066)

What is there in the water in Michigan?

Deuterium, apparently.

Re:What's up with Michigan? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927282)

And apparently damned little to do other than water the golf course or build a reactor:

Oakland, MI [google.com]

KFG

Re:What's up with Michigan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927294)

Look out for next years teen, who will be creating cold fusion.

Honestly though, the girls aren't very hot in michigan, so the guys have more time to invent.

Biggest question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16926798)

Where did he get the Deuterium from?

Re:Biggest question (1)

hool5400 (257022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927246)

i think united nuclear sells it in small quantities.

Re:Biggest question (5, Informative)

oddeirik (970950) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927266)

You can get Deuterium Oxide from http://www.unitednuclear.com/chem.htm [unitednuclear.com] (and probably many other chemical suppliers) from which you can make deuterium gas.

Re:Biggest question (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927274)

It is a by-product of charcoal filtered 'Unobtainium' - I hear the rus'kies have it for sale by the kilo...

Re:Biggest question (1)

Kangburra (911213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927450)

Core [imdb.com] , really?!

Becoming? (4, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926800)

Becoming more accessible? Electrostatic fusion was first demonstrated in the 20s.

Wow (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16926802)

That looks good on a college application

Deuterium? (2, Insightful)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926806)

How does a 17 year old come by deuterium? I mean the bush administration has a fit when Iran tries to buy some, and in this country you don't even have to be 18 to get it?

I'm lost.

Re:Deuterium? (2, Informative)

taustin (171655) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926826)

Dueterium is present in all water, and can be refined fairly easily with electrolysis. All that's needed is some electricity and some fairly common instruments.

Re:Deuterium? (1, Insightful)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926876)

Okay, you do some electrolysis and now you have a container that has 99.985% hydrogen-1 and 0.015% deuterium. Now how do you get that deuterium?

The old fashioned way is a series of super-centrifuges. Does he happen to have a gas super-centrifuge?

Re:Deuterium? (0, Flamebait)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927030)

Christ almighty, is a simple check on wikipedia too much to ask? Heavy water boils at 101.4 degrees celcius. Anyone with a flame and a flask can get it in nearly unlimited quantities without the government ever knowing.

You are joking, aren't you? (3, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927224)

Because somebody modded this informative. Anybody with a flame, a flask, infinite quantities of energy and infinite patience might be able to get some modestly concentrated heavy water this way, but it is going to be groaningly slow. Which is why the usual method requires differential electrolysis.

Alternatively, he might have bought a small quantity from a scientific supplier. Even the Government is going to realise, especially if his teachers wrote in, that the size of fusion bomb you can build with a couple of grammes of heavy water and the tritium from a beta light is less of a threat to the US than one NRA member with a hangover and a grudge against his ex-wife.

Re:You are joking, aren't you? (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927392)

I know it's difficult. I was speaking of possibilities, not practicalities. I probably should have clarified that. I was responding to a poster who seemed to think the method was electrolysis of plain water.

Re:Deuterium? (4, Insightful)

hung_himself (774451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927298)

Is actually reading the wikipedia too much to ask?

Two liquids that close in vapor pressure are very difficult to separate (and requires expensive distillation equipment according to the wiki). As for the grandparent - electrolysis would work because the strength of the HO and DO bonds are different though according to the wiki this is not efficient either. But the principle is the same - unlike for larger isotopes which chemically are essentially identical (and require centrifuges to separate by density), hydrogen isotopes have different chemical properties that can be exploited in rates of reactions and one of these is given in the wikipedia for those interested.

BTW as isotopes go it is very cheap to just buy heavy water (probably because it is relatively easy to obtain) and that is probably the source for this guy's experiment.

Re:Deuterium? (1)

Metex (302736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927182)

Forgot which chemistry book but if you dont care about have an extreamly pure source of deuterium 99.9% and up you just need to do electrolysis of something around 30 L for 1 ml of deuterium for a 95% pure deuterium water. I really wish I could give you the source with the exsact number but I have 8 more hours of homework ahead of me.

Re:Deuterium? (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926954)

I am genuinely greatly encouraged to see that there still are some genuine nerds (the term is not meant perjoritively in this context at all, so please do not take it as such) writing to Slashdot. Given the seemingly unending torrent of peurile, juvenile drivel that seems to have inundated the site recently, I badly needed such an event in order to restore my faith in it.

Thank you.

Hydrogen, yes; Deuterium, no. (4, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927018)

I think you're confusing deuterium with plain old hydrogen. You can extract hydrogen from water with electrolysis, but separating the deuterium (representing a vanishingly small percentage of the liberated hydrogen) from that would still be, to put it mildly, less than trivial.

IIRC, commercial heavy water plants do something that takes advantage of the slight difference in boiling point between D2O and H2O, and do a very delicate fractional distillation, over and over and over. The energy involved to do it is pretty immense, and it would be tough to do except under very carefully controlled conditions. Hydrogen sulfide may also be involved at some point in the process, as well, at least according to this WP article [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Deuterium? (1)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926854)

Considering its use in fusion devices as a source of neutrons... I'd hope he didn't buy it somehow. Meh, deuterium isn't actually that complex. One Proton and one Neutron. I'm sure there are ways to reliably make it. If such a way can't easily be found on the internet, create a conspiracy theory.

Re:Deuterium? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926900)

Meh, deuterium isn't actually that complex. One Proton and one Neutron.

Don't forget the electron.

LK

Re:Deuterium? (2, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926936)

well, just remember to purge the exhaust manifolds afterwards, check the deutrium reserve levels and recalibrate the deflector dish. (the latter one is extremely necessary)

Re:Deuterium? (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927112)

And when that fails, reverse polarity on the ion drives and switch to impulse while using the shields to create a negative graviton balance. It'll take split second timing, but it's our only chance.

Re:Deuterium? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16926866)

Just order it from any gas supplier. They deliver. It's not radioactive.

http://www.airgas.com/browse/product_list.aspx?cat ID=90&Keyword=deuterium [airgas.com]

Re:Deuterium? (2, Informative)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927138)

Not only is it not radioactive, it also isn't useful in non-thermonuclear fission weapons AFAIK. For a straight A-bomb, you really need enriched Uranium and/or Plutonium, but you have no need for Deuterium. Small quantities of Tritium can also be used in some designs, but I think that's a little beyond where Iran is today. It's only H-bombs that use Deuterium, and they're a lot more advanced than what we're talking about here.

I don't know what source the GP has for the US "having a fit" over Iranian Deuterium, but it sounds fishy to me. Either the US government is being irrational (what possible harm could Iran do with Deuterium?), or the GP doesn't actually have a clue what Deuterium is.

Re:Deuterium? (4, Informative)

norton_I (64015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927426)

I don't believe the US is worried about Iran having deuterium exactly, but the US is worried about Iran building heavy water (D20) moderated reactors. D20 is used in reactor designs that need a low neutron capture cross section, including ones used to breed plutonium. Note that heavy water reactors may also be used simply for power generation with unenriched uranium.

Re:Deuterium? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926946)

You just tell the government officials that you're researching for the next Star Trek movie and drop a lot of hints on how wonderful the movie will be.

Re:Deuterium? (3, Interesting)

cinexero (983612) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927012)

It's pretty easy to come by deuterium actually. You simply electrolyze heavy water. See this website http://www.rtftechnologies.org/physics/deuterium-e lectrolysis.htm [rtftechnologies.org] for an example of heavy water electrolysis. He's a college student that has done much much more, check out HIS fusion reactor[s] http://www.rtftechnologies.org/physics/ [rtftechnologies.org] .

Re:Deuterium? (4, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927058)

You can buy D2O, for example from sigmal aldrich, for moderate prices, compared to the rest of the equipment. I dunno the actual price, but i bougt 100ml high purity ND4OD, obviously harder to make, for 150$ for 50ml, so i guess 95% grade D2O schould be 50% for 100ml.

Its a non hazard material, non radiative, and WAY to common for any kind of sale restriction to make any sense.

Isotopic purification is dead easy if the weight ratio is 2:1, vs for example 235:239...

Re:Deuterium? (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927196)

It's not particularily dangerous. You can get it over in Canada.

Site is down, so no videos for now (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926814)

His site: http://fusor.net/board/view.php?site=fusor&bn=fuso r_images&key=1150855195 [fusor.net]

Can anyone independently verify that fusion is actually occurring here? Is he really creating Helium in the chamber?

Re:Site is down, so no videos for now (1)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926842)

His ISP is going to need that ball of fusion to power their server after the /.ing you brought upon it.

Re:Site is down, so no videos for now (5, Informative)

LoveMuscle (42428) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927242)

Fusion is easy to verify: Deuterium-Deuterium fusion spits out a proton at a well know energy level (3ish MeV) and a tritium atom.
Deuterium-Tritium fusion spits out a neutron at a well know enegery level (14ish MeV), and a helium. With the appropriate gear either the proton or the neutron are easy to spot/measure.
 

Re:Site is down, so no videos for now (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927290)

Well, is there any independent verification, then?

innovate in all branches. (1, Insightful)

cucucu (953756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926822)

It is good to see how the youth can innovate in any field.
I always maintained that innovation for the young scientist will be limited almost completely to computer and software because of the ease with which you can buy a machine, connect to the internet and start hacking.
Good that this young man proved me wrong. Perhaps we will start seeing innovations by high schoolers in all the branches of the sciences and engineering: biology, chemistry, aeronautics, space research, engineering, etc.

No computer will be a better innovating machine than the one between our ears.

Re:innovate in all branches. (1)

massivefoot (922746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926908)

If I understand correctly he isn't really innovating in the sense that the experiment is new or anything. But presumably he's done it on a relatively tight budget, and it could get other kids interested in science. Wish I'd had the get up and go to try and build a fusion reactor when I was 17!

either that (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926834)

Hopefully this points to a future where large scale fusion reactors are both economical and widely used.

Either that, or it points to a future where large scale fusion reactors are widely used in parents' basements.

Re:either that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927028)

It isn't "economical and widely used" until some teenager puts "Mr." in front of "Fusion."

national hysteria (1, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926856)

He's on the cross country and track teams at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills. He's a good-looking, clean-cut 17-year-old with a 3.75 grade point average, and he has his eyes fixed on the next big step: college.

Little does he know, his next big step will actually be gitmo, and from there, the CIA torture camp in Syria.

Good luck, little buddy!

Re:national hysteria (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927024)

Dear sir,

I actually liked your kind of flaimebait. Could you please give us some more ?

Re:national hysteria (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927086)

I would, but it's hard to type with electrodes attached to my testicles. Please try again later!

He initially wanted to create a hyperbolic chamber (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16926870)

but his mother wouldn't let him. Quite right too. There's way too much unjustified exaggeration these days. Far more dangerous than a glowing ball of energy.

The hyperbolic chamber (2, Funny)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926888)

From TFA his mother wouldn't let him build a hyperbolic chamber.

Definition of hyperbolic

exaggerated: enlarged beyond truth or reasonableness; "had an exaggerated (or inflated) opinion of himself"; "a hyperbolic style"

Re:The hyperbolic chamber (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927098)

Obviously your definition is rather narrow, or you are mathematically uneducated.

Re:The hyperbolic chamber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927130)

Perhaps he meant a hyperbaric chamber, meaning a chamber whose pressure is higher than atmospheric pressure. Not sure how that would be useful for creating nuclear fusion, but the words sound similar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbaric_oxygen_the rapy [wikipedia.org]

Neutrons (4, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926932)

What did he use to shield the neutrons or did he just suck them up?

How do we know it's fusion? (5, Interesting)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926950)

Personally, if I put a dilute gas in a vacuum chamber, apply a voltage and see a small ball of fire, I think plasma. Why is this not just a plasma? How do we know it's fusion?

And what is a "hyperbolic chamber"???????

Note: creating a plasma at 17 years old in a garage would still be very cool. Maybe not slashdot-front-page cool, but still cool.

Re:How do we know it's fusion? (5, Funny)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927010)

Note: creating a plasma at 17 years old in a garage would still be very cool. Maybe not slashdot-front-page cool, but still cool.

He didn't do it in a garage, though - he created plasma in his parents' basement, which makes it more relevant to Slashdot readers.

Re:How do we know it's fusion? (1)

Articuno (693740) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927082)

I hope that isn't this : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbolic_Time_Chamb er [wikipedia.org]

Re:How do we know it's fusion? (1)

orospakr (715849) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927114)

Actually, in TFA, he asked his mom if he could build a hyperbolic chamber first.

Not quite the same thing as the "Dragonball Z" variety, but...

Mommy never lies! (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927448)

See. This is a very bright kid. His mother says so. By 5 he was playing chemistry sets, and by 9 was changing batteries.

FOR FUCK SAKES PEOPLE: I know many kids, including myself & my own two kids who did simple chemistry set stuff at less than 5 and tasks more complex than changing batteries in cars long before 9, and explosives etc before ten.

I doubt this is real fusion & will remain sceptical until somebody in a white lab coat and thick glasses confirms it. Sorry mom, your opinion doesn't count.

frightening (3, Interesting)

mwanaheri (933794) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926962)

OK, congrats that this seems to have worked. But a teen experimenting at home with 40.000 volt and Deuterium - am I the only one who thinks this is frightening?

Too easily frightened. (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927080)

Any kid who ever built a Van De Graff generator has played with far more than 40kV... I mean, that's only a few centimeters worth of spark at STP. If you've ever gotten 3-4" sparks in dry air, you're playing with way higher voltage than that.

Re:Too easily frightened. (1)

mwanaheri (933794) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927238)

Well, I'm rather ignorant if it comes to Physics (No idea what a Van De Graff generator is) but when it comes to sparks and old tv-parts then I have probably played with more than 40.000 volt. Lucky me that I didn't know it. ;-)

Re:frightening (5, Insightful)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927120)

Perhaps in today's 'lets assume every teenager who is not out trying to score nookie, or hang at the mall' society. But some of us do remember a time when experimentation was encouraged and nurtured. To be honest, I'll be surprised if some state or gov agency doesn't pop by his house and have a little chat or worse the next time he wants to fly any where, his name 'magically' now appears on the no-fly lists.

What's really sad is that people are so frightened, that they would willingly give up personal freedoms and stifle overly creative children for some ill-perception of national security.

Re:frightening (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927254)

Right. First he's playing with fusion, the next thing you know, he's building terrorist bombs! Let's ban Deuterium right quick "for the children". (End sarcasm)

Your comment is symptomatic of a larger problem in society. We're scared of our own shadows. "Oooooh the evil scary nukular stuff is in the hands of the teens! Run for your life!!!" - Is this even slightly rational? He can't hurt anyone with electrostatic confined fusion (if you could weaponize that, the powers that be would have done so already). If he fries himself with X-rays or high voltage, then that's a risk he took for himself; his parents may have a say in what risks he exposes himself to, but it's not my concern or yours.

Personally, I'm far more worried about what a government will do when given powerful toys than I am about what a lone teenager will.

Re:frightening (1)

Nicaboker (978150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927326)

I'm foreseeing the Patriot Act being enforced on him in the near future.

Re:frightening (1)

AWeishaupt (917501) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927332)

It's only frightening if you're one of these types that fears and doubts anybody experimenting with physics, high voltage electronics, chemistry etc in their basements.

Deuterium is not a regulated material, and is available off the shelf (essentially) from scientific and industrial suppliers. It's no more dangerous than regular Hydrogen gas.

Neutron radiation can be very nasty. And of course the 2.45 MeV neutrons produced in D-D fusion are the characteristic signature of such a reaction - if he has confirmed that fusion is occurring, then he has detected neutron radiation outside the apparatus.

But if you understand what neutrons are, you understand the risks they pose, and you understand what you need to do to ensure safety in such an endeavour.

Shielding, absorption and moderation of neutrons can all be easily accomplished with household materials, and having a neutron counter is a fairly important pre-requisite to being able to demonstrate D-D fusion. Neutron activation could be demonstrated without a counter, assuming that strict precautions are taken to shield or avoid proximity to the Fusor whilst it is operating.

rofl (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 7 years ago | (#16926992)

I hope this kid from detroit doesn't know the kids I know from detroit...I can just imagine the rolling party in his basement.

"Wow I love you guys so much! Any of you kandi kids wanna see my fusion reactor? It gives the best light shows!"

Fusor (4, Interesting)

deischi (133747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927006)

Sounds like a Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor [wikipedia.org]
so really nothing new.

Re:Fusor (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927034)

Yeah,fusors are supposed to be relatively easy to make.

Re:Fusor (1)

Saikik (1018772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927292)

Yeah my parents just bought me one I keep it around for chicks.

too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927054)

he couldn't create a way to beat ohio state

Re:too bad (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927108)

as much as I don't give a damn about either my local team or michigan, that was very funny and well placed

Um, who cares... (1)

sirius sam (963847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927384)

...about a bunch of niggers throwing a ball around?

Future of Fusion (4, Insightful)

Yahma (1004476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927064)

Hopefully this points to a future where large scale fusion reactors are both economical and widely used.

I'm sorry... but while this teenagers work is certainly commendable and nothing to sneeze at (in fact, Large engineering firms such as Siemens [siemens.de] seem to take an interest in him). His work does nothing to further research in the field. Non-sustaining fusion reactors have been around for decades, and its been widely known how to build one for at least 20 years. For most people, the cost is the limiting factor. Why would you want to spend $50k-100k on something that uses more energy than it produces?

Now when we finally get a sustainable fusion reaction that produces more energy that it uses, that would be something to write about!


Yahma
ProxyStorm [proxystorm.com] - An apache based anonymous proxy service.

Re:Future of Fusion (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927388)

"Now when we finally get a sustainable fusion reaction that produces more energy that it uses, that would be something to write about!"

I agree and I think the more 17 year olds we have building stuff like this the closer we will come to realising that goal. Who knows maybe one of them will make a mistake and discover something unexpectedly useful, the less people you have experimenting the less likely you'll discover anything new.

I like the way he worms out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927084)

...of any legal trouble with any federal government agency:
Someday, he hopes to work for the federal government -- just like his grandfather, Clarence Olson, who designed tanks for the Department of Defense after World War II.

Fusion is no big deal! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927110)

This is a Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor [wikipedia.org] . They are no big deal! Effectively it is like a vacuum tube, where an electrical charge is used to accelerate D+ ions until they smack into each other. No biggie! The energy levels needed for fusion are very small and can be achieved in a hand-held device. These fusors are used as laboratory neutron sources.

So if fusion is so easy, and if it's such a great power source, why aren't we using it right now to generate power? The Fusor device can easily make fusion happen but, for various reasons, it is not energy-positive fusion. The energy you get out of it cannot be capture in a useful way to get more energy than was put into it. So they're great for neutrons but not much else.

If someone could figure out a design that would be energy-positive then we would have something amazing but there's nothing there for that right now.

kaboom! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16927124)

dont forget to keep Dee Dee out of lab..

Really? Me too! (4, Funny)

Itsallmyfault (1015439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927162)

I'm in the process of this very thing... on a much larger scale... in my dining roo+++NO CARRIER

I love bylines! (4, Funny)

M0b1u5 (569472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927258)

I love bylines! They're so incriminating.

Like GINA DAMRON, the reporter who doesn't listen, and can not know the difference between a "Hyperbaric Chamber" and a [sic] Hyperbolic Chamber, which sounds oddly shaped, but unremarkable.

Good on you Gina, keep up that keen reporting.

I'm looking forward to your report on the Frictional Distillation process.

Radioactive Boy Scout (1)

robbiedo (553308) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927296)

Well at least he didn't build a fission reactor in his tool shed, and create a EPA Superfund site.

Burning hydrogen perhaps? (0, Troll)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927322)

I'd be much more likely to believe he'd managed to burn some hydrogen in a ball of gas and that his little vacuum chamber is less than perfect. Sounds like pseudo scientific horse shit (still steaming) to me.

Relevant science fiction story: (2, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927342)

Dechlorinating the Moderator [antipope.org] by Charles Stross. Check out Scratch Monkey & Accelerando while you're there, too.

Amazed that no one's posted this yet in a story about amateur physics ;)

Oh, crap, about the domain name... (2, Informative)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927372)

Forgot... No, it's not an anti-catholic site. It's supposed to be "autopope" but that got messed up in Internet pre-history.

Commendable. (3, Funny)

tute666 (688551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927348)

The FBI hasn't fallen on him like a ton of rectangular building blocks yet?

So what? (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927370)

Philo Farnsworth did this ages ago. So what's the big deal? All of a sudden, just because someone does something that has a techy-sounding name, it becomes newsworthy regardless of the fact that it is NOTHING new?

If I had a nickle... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927404)

If I had a nickle every time I created fusion, well, I'd still be broke.

Aww Nostalgia... (1)

REALLYTANGY (908335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927420)

I don't know why, but the recurring theme in my head while reading the article was the similarity to Micho Kaku's experience in HS that he describes in his book Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension...I believe it's page 5-6.

He built it WHERE? (1)

Nitewing98 (308560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16927430)

Am I the only one that thinks he's an idiot for trying to construct ANY fusion device under his parent's house? Geez, what if he'd created a fusion reaction that was larger than he could contain?

Who does he think he is, Elroy Jetson?
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