13-year-old creates nuclear fusion at school

A 13-year-old school boy from Lancashire has become the youngest person to carry out nuclear fusion – and you’d hope so too.

Jamie Edwards, a pupil at Penwortham Priory Academy, successfully created the conditions in which charged hydrogen atoms fused together to create helium – a process known as inertial electrostatic confinement, which has been known about since the 1960s.

Edwards approached various nuclear laboratories and university for funds, but his applications were rejected. Eventually the school put £2,000 towards the project.

The previous record holder for youngest person to create nuclear fusion was US student Taylor Wilson, who successfully carried out the experiment in 2008.

Edwards started work on the project in October and had to race against time to complete his work before turning 14 this weekend.

Edwards said: “One day, I was looking on the internet for radiation or other aspects of nuclear energy and I came across Taylor Wilson.

“I looked at it, thought ‘that looks cool’ and decided to have a go.

“You see this purple ball of plasma - basically it’s like a star in a jar,” he added.

Headmaster Jim Hourigan said: “I was a bit stunned and I have to say a little nervous when Jamie suggested this but he reassured me he wouldn’t blow the school up.” 

Jamie sourced the necessary parts and equipment from the US, Lithuania and the UK, working on the project every break and lunchtime as well as after school.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Ian Middleton

    When he's finished that maybe he can use his new found skills to fuse Cameron & Clegg into one half decent leader. Although that might stretch the boundaries of physics beyond breaking point.

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  • Ian Middleton - people like you are so annoying. This article has nothing to do with politics and is an example of how innovative youngsters can be.
    Instead, you come on here whining and trying to be funny (but failing) about the Govt. If you don't like what is happening....do something!....instead of complaining on forums like and angry little child. I suspect it's you who doesn't have the brain power to understand the issues you're moaning about.

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