Twelve-Year-Old Successfully Recreates Advanced Science Project at Home

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. nuclear fusion / ˈnu kli ər ˈfyu ʒən / (n) – the process of combining two particles to release energy

    Our science teacher showed us a video on how nuclear fusion works.

  2. stumble upon (someone/something) / ˈstʌm bəl əˈpɒn / (idiom) – to meet someone or find something unexpectedly

    I stumbled upon this book while I was cleaning my house.

  3. airtight / ˈɛərˌtaɪt / (adj) – tightly sealed so that air cannot get in or out

    Please store the cookies in an airtight container so that they stay fresh.

  4. arduous / ˈɑr dʒu əs / (adj) – describing something that is tiring and difficult to achieve

    His skills are the result of long, arduous training.

  5. feat / fit / (n) – an achievement that requires great skill

    That building is an impressive feat of engineering.


Read the text below.

A fifteen-year-old boy has been recognized by Guinness World Records for being the youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion.

Jackson Oswalt first learned about nuclear fusion when he was 12 years old. While doing research online, he stumbled upon the story of Taylor Wilson, an amateur nuclear physicist who successfully achieved nuclear fusion at the age of 14. Before Oswalt, Wilson was recognized by Guinness as the youngest person to ever do so.

Inspired by Wilson, Oswalt attempted to build his own nuclear fusion machine using parts he purchased online. He designed and worked on the project all by himself. A few hours before his 13th birthday, Oswalt successfully made a tiny nuclear fusion machine.

In a video, Oswalt said that he successfully fused two particles capable of creating heat energy. He explained that the resulting energy can be used to warm water and turn a steam engine, which in turn generates electricity.

The young scientist said that building such a machine can be very dangerous. According to him, the most difficult part of assembling his machine was making its seal airtight. He said that it took him around six months to find out how to correctly seal it.

After completing the project, Oswalt waited two years for experts to confirm his accomplishment. The teenager admitted that he had felt doubtful that he could achieve such an arduous feat.  Oswalt added that he feels proud for successfully completing the project and said that the recognition from Guinness World Records is just a bonus.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think teenagers/kids should be allowed to work on dangerous science projects all by themselves? Why or why not?
• What can be done to ensure the safety of young children when working on dangerous science projects? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think it’s important for children to work on projects that aren’t directly related to their schoolwork? Why or why not?
• What kind of project would you choose to work on (e.g. creating a new recipe, writing a novel)? Discuss.