(Federal Way, WA) Three high school children reporting were able to create detectable amounts of Tritium (a nuclear isotope of hydrogen see wiki) using a home built deuterium fusion reactor in the basement of someone’s house. The science club that meets there (Northwest Nuclear Consortium) is known for teaching teenagers to do real science including net new nuclear research. In this particular case, according to one of the researchers named Aleksander (a 14 year old freshmen) the reactor experiment generated a detectable neutron with a charge of 14 MEV (Million Electron Volts) which is much greater then the standard neutrons being detected with the only logical explanation being the production of tritium inside the reactor.
The science club in questions started with “Carl Greninger an IT executive at Microsoft who became frustrated a few years ago with the limitations placed on science education in the public schools in his hometown of Federal Way, WA.
It started with a guy named Carl Greninger, and his realization that tight budgets and fear of lawsuits have pushed out much of the fun, dangerous stuff from high school science labs, leaving “nothing sharper than silly putty.
“I walked into a classroom and I saw a science teacher. And he had a string and a paper cup. And he says, well, we’re studying physics, and I looked back at the kids and I saw the word ‘lame’ tattooed across their foreheads. And I said, I can do better than this in my garage,” he says.
And so despite the fact that he had no “nuclear physics” or engineering in his background, Carl went about the not entirely difficult project of building a fusor in his basement and garage.
Now comes this recent, detailed account of the inspiring work that Carl is doing, sharing his laboratory with students from all over his part of the country and getting them excited about the possibilities of fusion research and advanced science and physics in general:
As I have reflected on this experience, I think the fusion reactor was pretty awesome, but it was the students and what they were doing that was truly amazing.
Carl …had a vision of a private science club to teach students “real science.” He turned his vision into a Friday night program that attracts the brightest minds in the region. Adult volunteers, who are experts in biology, electrical engineering, and software engineering also attend the Friday night meetings.” (read the rest of that story here: [link] )
The exciting thing besides children discovering detectable amounts of tritium that doesn’t include a dangerous uranium reactor is that there are teenagers learning real science and making real discovers and having the ‘real’ skills to do it as opposed to our typical kid…
to be clear the reactor in question is what is called a fusor and is not suitable for power generation. in fact its more the opposite requiring lots of power and produces radiation suitable for research work. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusor