While the nearest many Nigerian 16-year-olds will come to nuclear energy – or even anything nuclear – is probably their Physics or Chemistry textbooks, a Nigerian high school student from Southern New Jersey is doing something with nuclear energy no African, nay black person, has ever done.
Steven Udotong, 16, is on a quest to build a nuclear fusor, an invention he hopes will help inspire a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly future for us all.
A fusor uses “electricity to heat charge atoms to a point where nuclear fusion can occur to produce energy”. Steven hopes that the fusor will help inspire a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly future for the planet.
“I grew curious after we flew by the topic of nuclear energy in my chemistry class last year. 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.”
“I want to examine more clean energy products and stop fearing the word “nuclear”. Nuclear energy is a lot safer than people think.”
Last summer, Steven was accepted into the Yale Young Global Scholar Program, in the engineering track at the Singapore campus – one of three students from New jersey to be accepted. He’s very motivated, knowing that he will be the first black student to achieve this feat:
“I’m motivated knowing I’m proof that there are many ways for minorities to pursue success. 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.”
“I hope this project will become an example of academic excellence as a vehicle of accomplishment for Black students.”
His project has already struck a chord within his local community– he’s been featured in his hometown newspaper and people are willing to help him achieve his goal. The first part of Steven’s invention was successful, but he still needs to raise another $750 in order to get the rest of the supplies needed for the reactor.
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