Stars in a Jar: Jackson Oswalt – Fusion Kid

Jackson Oswalt - Fusion Kid

Last night, I saw another story that fit right into the Mesh universe. Jackson Oswalt created nuclear fusion in his home lab, and he’s just a kid. Let’s talk about his awesome accomplishment, and then we’ll talk about how this fits in the Mesh universe.

The details: Last week, Guinness certified Jackson Oswalt of Memphis as the youngest person ever to successfully create nuclear fusion. “[J]ust hours before his 13th birthday in 2018, fused together two deuterium atoms using a fusor that he had built and operated in the playroom of his family home in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Jackson’s achievement was verified by Fusor.net, The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium, on 2 February 2018 and confirmed by fusion researcher Richard Hull, who maintains a list of amateur scientists who have achieved fusion at home.”

So, we have fusion power now? No. As this article points out: ‘Sadly, fusors are not likely to see commercial use to solve the world’s clean energy needs. A typical fusor cannot produce the neutron flux that a fusion reactor would be able to, and the energy input far outweighs the potential energy output with technology as it stands.’

Jackson Oswalt - Fusion KidThat takes nothing from Jackson’s achievement. According to Guinness, ‘Jackson was inspired to build his own fusor after reading about teenager Taylor Wilson, who had also created his own fusor. As he writes on Fusor.net, “One day I had a sudden epiphany. I realized that I could be the absolute best at whatever videogame, but in the end it still wouldn’t mean much.”

I got excited by that. Mesh is inspired by Taylor Wilson, too! I’ve been talking about kids like Taylor Wilson and Jackson Oswalt for three years now. My novel takes place at a special technical high school filled with kids like Jackson Oswalt. Miramar is based on other real-life schools that immerse kids in different technical disciplines.

In Mesh, those kids are Stars in a Jar. They’re in high school but they get to build whatever they want. If they invent something cool, they graduate Miramar with six-figure jobs waiting for them. They build software apps in VR using artificial intelligence. Imagine what a kid like Jackson could do with an AI at his disposal.

Kids like Jackson are special. With the right support and focus, they can change the world. Sadly, they’re also vulnerable to collapse – that’s why it’s critical to protect and nurture them.

Congratulations to Jackson Oswalt and his nuclear accomplishment! It looks like he’s got all the help and support he needs to change the world. We’ll be watching to see what kind of amazing things he does next.

 

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