As the U.S. scrambles to find reliable sources of alternative energy, this 16-year-old student from South Jersey is working on an invention he hopes will put us one step closer to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly future, reporting Atlanta Black Star.
Steven Udotong, a junior at Cinnaminson High School in southern New Jersey, is looking to become the first Black student to engineer a nuclear fusor, a machine that uses “electricity to heat charged atoms to a point where nuclear fusion can occur.” Nuclear energy has generally gotten a bad rap, but Udotong is out to prove that it actually is a great source of alternative energy.
“I grew curious after we flew by the topic of nuclear energy in my chemistry class last year,” the budding engineer said during an interview with his older brother Emmanuel, a computer science major at Princeton University that was later posted on Jopwell’s digital magazine “The Well.” “I decided to do more research and I soon learned that I could actually make a nuclear fusor. That sparked my interest.”
“I want people to know that there are alternate methods for obtaining power and energy,” Udotong continued. “I want to examine more clean-energy products and stop fearing the word ‘nuclear.’ Nuclear energy is a lot safer than people think.”
To jumpstart his efforts in building the reactor, Udotong launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for supplies. The South Jersey teenager has since exceeded his $1,500 goal, as over 70 donors have contributed to his cause in just a month.
“The general public is not taking action, but I will,” his GoFundMe page reads.
“I’m motivated knowing I’m proof that there are many ways for minorities to pursue success,” Udotong said. “Sports and music are not the only avenues for us. There’s room for us. Rather, there’s a need for us to participate in academia, business, art, law, medicine and, yes, nuclear energy.”
“My goal is to start a conversation at the state, and even the federal, level about more serious action towards adopting alternative energy sources,” Udotong said. “I figure that if a high school student can do this, there’s no excuse for any of us.”