Book Preview: The Boy Who Played with Fusion


Are they going to cook some Meth?


Reminds me of the endless fun I had with my chemistry set, back when kids were expendable.


From the Amazon description…

There has never been a time to be a “gifted” child in school. States and cities are bending over backwards to do these for them… including often giving them their own school. Who’s getting the shaft is the low income kids.

I like the extreme parenting part, but does anyone think any entity, public or private, is going to sanction a kid building his own nuclear reactor. Being gifted is learning to overcome obstacles.

just a ’ story ’ and silly as all get out !! one does not need to make a refrigerator compressor run backwards by ’ rewiring ’ it , it already has both a SUCTION and an exhaust when it runs normally ’ forwards ’ , one tube draws in , one tube pushes out ; but , seriously folks a relatively inexpensive piston style air compressor would much likely be much better , and true vacuum pumps are not unavailable , in fact , hand powered pistons for use servicing refrigerant devices , designed to pull a vacuum , are at harbour freight , and maybe even one’s local dollar store !! plus google reveals many types of vacuum pumps for like 15 $$ !! but , whatever spins your mind and sells soap or cars or politicians or whatever !! and , almost any arc has a plasma component , almost by definition , even like a 24 volt ac transformer striking an arc in full air pressure between 2 graphite rods , or pencil leads even contaminated with clay !! and such and so on ~ and , this is just from the provided blurb or excerpt !!

Better be expendable than safely bored! (Tried both.)

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Wrong kind of plasma. You need the glow discharge part of the characteristics, not the arc part.
(Thought… would it work anyway?)
(Likely not. We need the low pressure so the atoms have enough highway to accelerate to speed to smash into the other atom fast enough to react.)

These suck when it comes to decent vacuum. You need a pretty decent one to pull the 10 pascals or less that are needed for a diffusion pump to do its job.

Is it possible that the author doesn’t know enough about refrigerator compressors to miss this detail?

There are also relatively affordable air-conditioning-service vacuum pumps. They may do the job.

More on the net, there are communities of vacuum hackers. (More power to them. WAY more.)

Part of being gifted is learning about the obstacles. Only a part. A significant part, but only a part.

And this is just a lowly fusor you can build in a marmalade glass. Granted, not entirely uncomplicated due to the high voltage and vacuum systems involved, but an excellent start for a teenager. I wish I was him.

A sexy thing to build at home would be a subcritical fission reactor. An accelerator working as a neutron generator (sadly, the good spallation sources are likely to be out of range of homemade stuff, so perhaps deuterium-tritium fusion in a uranium target?), and natural uranium cladding. A few grams should be enough for a proof of concept. (Todo…)


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