Thomas Førland Oftedal

Stavanger, Norway

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Thomas Førland Oftedal
Posted over 3 years ago
Taylor Wilson: Yup, I built a nuclear fusion reactor
There's something inherently wrong and unfair about this story. As a physics student and a chemist, I've been doing a lot of similar work, concentrating uranium ore and building a neutron emitter. But whatever work I've done has been condemned by both society and the authorities. There's a stigmatization of people with unfamiliar and unknown hobbies, and the threats of terrorism is not making it any easier. How do you make the leap from being seen as a possible danger and threat, to become like Wilson? I have a friend that was suspended from the university for two years because they found a vial of yellowcake in his backpack. I had a friend jailed for 18 months simple for having a packet of Sudafed cold pills. And you read it over and over again in the newspaper of people being arrested for the stupidest things, like having aluminium or iron powder, a bag of potassium nitrate or permanganate. These things makes it difficult for hobby chemists and engineers to be open about what we do, why wasn't Wilson arrested on the spot for posing a danger to the public? There was another kid interested in this kind of stuff in New Mexico, but he was arrested and his lab destroyed by police. You also had that man in Sweden who made an attempt to build a fusion reactor, he was also publicly condemned. It somehow makes me very angry to hear Wilson's story, what happened here? Why do I have to spend 10 years acquiring a PhD to get access to a lab, and they just give him one? I also think that this kid is getting too much attention for his work, it might be unusual for a kid, but it's not very good or extraordinary. It's more a matter of following instructions than anything else.