Author Topic: Weekly Science Headlines  (Read 293682 times)

Brother Mythos

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1215 on: February 20, 2019, 03:37:58 am »
"Teen builds working nuclear fusion reactor in Memphis home"

As per the article:

“Some kids spend their time on social media, other kids spend their time playing video games. When it comes to 14-year-old Jackson Oswalt, his time is spent in a laboratory working on a nuclear fusion reactor.

The Memphis teen finished his reactor and achieved fusion at the age of 13. He’s regarded by experts as the youngest in America – maybe even the world – to accomplish it. Jackson built a steel machine made up of vacuums, pumps and chambers that is capable of smashing atoms together through force in a smoking hot plasma center that releases a burst of fusion energy. If you’ve ever wondered how the sun and other stars are powered, the process within Jackson’s nuclear fusion reactor is comparable.

He began working on the fusion reactor at 12 years old, after concluding that he didn’t want to dedicate his leisure time solely to playing games like Fortnite. He began scouring the Internet for nuclear-related things because that’s what he says held his interest. Yes — at 12 years old.”

Here's the link: https://www.foxnews.com/science/teen-builds-working-nuclear-fusion-reactor-in-memphis-home

I'm pretty sure the kid with the “Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano” won't be beating this young man at the next Memphis Science Fair.

Al Qədic

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1216 on: February 20, 2019, 03:55:40 am »
At first I thought this was a repost of an older story...but no, there's now another young lad who decided it was a fine idea to try and achieve nuclear fusion...why is there more than one example of this?! At least the other kid was a Boy Scout! :argh!: Well, here's a link to that story, I guess. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/eagle-scout-nuclear-reactor/
O, the Frog fell down to Tehran.
To fix the broken hourglass in the sun.
From the gates, to the city, to the market so pretty,
They'd not leave until they were done.

Said the Goddess to the Frog,
"You'd best be moving along."
So sayeth the water, the words of Anahita,
But the Frog just made themselves a bog.

And lo, they said:

"May I have your shoes, miss?
O great Water Goddess,
I've a journey that I need to start."
She responded from her knowing, wise heart.

With this, said the Goddess,
"Go now, take these shoes with."
And covered their webbed feet with glee.
"You'll do good not to disappoint me."

Thank you for completing the free trial. To view the rest of this poem, nag me about it...I might not respond by giving you the rest of it, but when has that ever stopped you?

chaotic neutral observer

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Re: Weekly Science Headlines
« Reply #1217 on: February 20, 2019, 04:56:00 am »
At first I thought this was a repost of an older story...but no, there's now another young lad who decided it was a fine idea to try and achieve nuclear fusion...why is there more than one example of this?! At least the other kid was a Boy Scout! :argh!: Well, here's a link to that story, I guess. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/eagle-scout-nuclear-reactor/

No, that Boy Scout was just playing around with fissile materials, and given his carelessness, it's surprising he didn't give himself cancer.  Nuclear fission happens all over the place in nature; it doesn't appear his ingenuity extended much beyond collecting dangerous materials.  (His "reactor" was held together with duct tape).

Nuclear fusion is an entirely different critter, and rather harder to accomplish in practice.  You need a lot of heat and pressure to initiate it, and if you do anything wrong, it Just Won't Work.  What the kid in Memphis did is in a different league.  (Ostensibly, anyway.  If his parents put $8000-$10000 towards this project, one wonders what exactly he did on his own.  That build looks suspiciously neat for something assembled by a 14 year old.)

To put this in perspective, we started making fission reactors in the 1940s.  We're still working out how to make a fusion reactor that puts out more energy than it consumes.
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