Amateur Bed-Stuy Scientist Embodies 'Do or Die' Ethos with Amateur Nuclear Reactor

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"Cute nerd alert!" notes Daily Intel's assessment of Bed-Stuy resident Mark Suppes, a guy who, the BBC explains, works on web-development for Gucci by day and his homemade nuclear reactor by night. Which is great, because what we really need to do is encourage him.

As if the men of this city don't have to compete enough -- or if Williamsburg's Finest won't also start trying this, leading their way towards the inevitable Sunday Styles piece about Hipster Nuclear Reactors (and also, Brooklyn's Chernobyl) -- this Suppes guy is apparently the 38th amateur nuclear scientist to achieve nuclear fusion, which he does, by the way, without nuclear material. And what does this nuclear reactor do?

Basically, it smacks energy together to fuse it, and creates more energy by doing so, and this might save the world (or something) without using bad nuclear material and creating bad nuclear waste. To get it going, and to get the reactor pumping out a bunch of energy, it first extracts a bunch of air out of a chamber, pumps a safe gas (that he probably buys in Jersey) into it, and then, uh, runs 10,000 volts of energy into the safe gas (that he probably buys in Jersey). Which he does by standing back and hit a switch -- because you don't want to be near it, because radiation comes from the energy -- and then a bubble appears in a tube, and that's how we know that nuclear energy exists.

Not even joking. Just watch the video.

Of course, the Brooklynites interviewed are cautious, but mostly curious if not impressed and likely to defend this young man's unalienable right to conduct scary-sounding science experiments that might save the world down their block. Besides, if you can make nuclear fision here, you can make it anywhere. Or something.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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