I’m Tom McCarthy.  In May 2013 I began a project to build a Fusor.  Since then I’ve crowdfunded €10,000 to build it and moved it from my shed to University College Cork and back to my shed again.  I’m now studying Physics at Trinity College Dublin.  I’ve interned at Intercom and worked in a quantum computing lab at University College London.

A Fusor is a nuclear fusion reactor – not a generator.  It demonstrates inertial electrostatic confinement.  To do fusion, deuterium gas flows into a vacuum chamber at high vacuum (approx 1 mTorr).  A high voltage (-30kV DC) is applied to a grid in the centre of the chamber which causes ionisation and then fusion.  The Fusor was first developed  by Philo T. Farnsworth, also an inventor of modern day television.

I first found out about Fusors in a Wikipedia article, soon followed by a TED talk by Taylor Wilson.  Wilson held the record for the youngest person to do fusion (with a Fusor).  Young and naive as I was I determined to break Wilson’s record, initially planning to build the Fusor within 6 months.  In reality, it’s taken about 5 years and has been a fantastic experience.


Obviously, a project like this requires some funding.  I set a goal of €10,000 to build the Fusor, and this was successfully raised.  Along with the funds raised, corporate sponsors have made major contributions to the project, in both equipment and expertise.


Some other things I’m interested in are quantum computing, business, computers, guitar, reading, boxing and Gaelic football.