Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Now this is cool

One can be forgiven for suspecting that this story is about another form of cold fusion, but no! A 17-year-old high school student has actually built a device that fuses deuterium atoms. He is the 18th amateur scientist in the world to create nuclear fusion:
Pointing to the steel chamber where all the magic happens, Thiago Olson said on Friday that this piece of the puzzle serves as a vacuum. The air is sucked out and into a filter.

Then, deuterium gas -- a form of hydrogen -- is injected into the vacuum. About 40,000 volts of electricity are charged into the chamber from a piece of equipment taken from an old mammogram machine. As the machine runs, the atoms in the chamber are attracted to the center and soon -- ta da -- nuclear fusion.

Thiago said when that happens, a small intense ball of energy forms.

He first achieved fusion in September and has been perfecting the machine he built in his parents' garage ever since.

This year, Thiago was a semifinalist for the Siemens Foundation's National Research Competition. He plans to enter the Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit, which is in March, in hopes of qualifying to be in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in New Mexico in May.

I just think this is marvelous. I'm eager to see the "October Sky"-type movie about this.

No comments: