Letterman Gets Fused

I really do need to keep better track of my daily Google Alerts.  Unfortunately, I’ve become somewhat immune to them.  The fusion alerts, in particular, are usually about the ITER or the NIF or some giant government funded fusion boondoggle. They show up in my inbox everyday, and I mostly ignore them.

So I missed this when it showed up in my inbox last week: an appearance on the David Letterman show by Jamie Edwards, the 13-year-old from Lancashire, England, who is now the youngest person to ever build a fusor and achieve a nuclear fusion reaction.

The appearance actually begins just few seconds prior to this video.  Letterman has introduced Jamie who has taken his seat on the sofa, and the conversation begins:

Unlike his immediate predecessor in the “youngest fusioneer” sweepstakes, Jamie is modest, well spoken, and even a bit funny as he deflects Dave’s attempts to make light of something he barely comprehends.

What’s ironic is that this appearance is on that gizmo called television, and there’s no mention of the fact that the same guy who created the fusion process that they’re talking about also invented the medium they’re talking about it on.  But, that’s the way it goes when Philo Farnsworth is the topic.

Philo who??

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But… wait!  Despite all the coverage of Jamie’s work – and his appearance on a big-time US network TeeVee show – it turns out that Jamie’s claims of having achieved actual fusion (as evidenced by the production of neutrons) remains unsubstantiated as of this date.  There is a thread of discussion on this in the fusor forums, read it here.