The tiny reactor has major implications for medical imaging and cancer treatment

When Ella Slattery ’25 went on a tour of University of Puget Sound’s physics department during her first few weeks on campus as a first-year student, the last thing she expected to see was a nuclear fusion reactor. She remembers being intrigued as she peered through a tiny window on the side of a small, silvery chamber connected to a mass of wires to catch a glimpse of the reaction occurring inside. Brett Klaassen, the postgraduate researcher who built the device, invited her to help with the project.

Slattery found time each week between her busy class schedule and her concert band commitments to help to fine-tune and test the machine. She volunteered, alongside Klaasen and Amory Arado ’24, to build on the work of students who’d been involved in previous years to get the reactor up and running.