A month and a half ago young Jamie Edwards, a student at Penwortham Priory Academy in Lancashire (UK), got his proverbial 15 minutes of world fame. In fact, he got much more than that: tens of thousands of web and newspaper articles, and radio and TV interviews that culminated in an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman (CBS), broadcast live from Broadway in New York ...
Upon his visit at ITER, Jamie received a very special gift—a sample of toroidal field coil niobium-tin conductor from ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima.
Jamie Edwards, the media trumpeted, had built a fusion reactor. As the 13 year old explained to Letterman, he did it "because it seemed cool ... I guess..." The fact that what Jamie had built in his school lab was not exactly a fusion reactor, but rather an ambitious experiment with deuterium gas and high voltage, didn't seem to bother the media—the title "13 year old builds fusion reactor" made for a great, and selling, headline.
Like David Letterman, many people had never heard of fusion or fusion reactors; now, thanks to planetary coverage of Jamie's success in the laboratory, they have.
As it takes determination, know-how, precision and ingenuity to build and operate a school-lab fusion experiment, Jamie certainly deserves to be congratulated. "We should not hold back from praising Jamie for a wonderful scientific experiment," said ITER neutron specialist Michael Loughlin, who was asked to comment on the teenager's story
in a recent issue of the ITER Newsline
To celebrate his success, and encourage Jamie's early interest in the field of fusion, the European Domestic Agency for ITER invited Jamie to visit the people building the largest fusion reactor in the world. Joining a group of 50 media representatives that spent two days at ITER Headquarters this week, the Lancashire student—who recently turned 14—did what all journalists and budding fusion students are supposed to do: he listened, asked questions and took notes. And due to his recent fame, he also gave a few interviews ...
As a spectacularly efficient fusion promoter and a member of the very generation that ITER and the fusion community are working for, Jamie was entitled to a very special gift—a sample of toroidal field coil niobium-tin conductor offered in person by ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima.
The sample will be a precious addition to his assortment of nuclear-related artefacts—it will sit on a shelf in his room amid a collection of early 20th century uranium glassware.