When Jackson Oswalt of Tennessee was just 12 years old, he became the youngest known person in the world to generate a successful nuclear reaction, according to The Guardian.
Now aged 14, Oswalt and his accomplishment are being recognized by the Open Source Fusor Research Consortium.
Oswalt reportedly turned his playroom into a nuclear laboratory, home to $10,000 worth of equipment that “uses 50,000 volts of electricity to heat deuterium gas and fuse the nuclei to release energy.”
“The start of the process was just learning about what other people had done with their fusion reactors,” Jackson said.
“After that, I assembled a list of parts I needed. I got those parts off eBay primarily and then oftentimes the parts that I managed to scrounge off of eBay weren’t exactly what I needed. So I’d have to modify them to be able to do what I needed to do for my project.”
Though Oswalt’s feat is impressive — and he has taken over the title from Taylor Wilson, who achieved fusion at the age of 14 — The Guardian noted that scientists are likely to maintain skepticism “until Oswalt’s workings are subject to verification from an official organisation and are published in an academic journal.”
Nevertheless, the young man’s father, Chris Oswalt, is sure his son will prevail, telling USA Today: “I think there is a great disbelief until they actually see it.”