Medium: Drawing (pencil on paper)
Price for the original: $5,000
An easy way to think about fusion and this art drawing is to picture the center hexagon as an inert iron core and the six surrounding hexagons as the surrounding mass of the star collapsing due to immense gravity towards the center (the iron core).
When hexagons hit the core from all sides at nearly the exact same time and at 23% the speed of light they fuse the iron core. Every star is a giant fusion reactor, with massive amount of energy being created through the process of fusion.
Because of the immense pressure and heat, they also explode as a supernova. There are different types of supernova but this is just the basic idea.
Let me rewind and start from the beginning.
Space time is restricted to certain pathways, or as quantum mechanics teaches, "space has degrees of freedom". These restrictions (the geometry of space time), combined with mass and gravity, create the enormous pressure needed to get atoms close enough that the strong nuclear force takes over and begins fusing the elements. Hydrogen, then Helium, etc. This process continues as the star creates heavier and heavier elements which are layered like an onion due to the mass of the elements.
Massive stars generate energy by the nuclear fusion of elements. Fusion makes larger elements and releases much more energy than fission which is splitting atoms. Unlike our Sun, these massive stars possess the mass needed to fuse elements that have an atomic mass greater than hydrogen and helium. So imagine a giant fusion explosion held together by the degeneracy pressure of electrons and the energy generated by these fusion reactions. This is sufficient to counter the force of gravity and prevent the star from collapsing. The star fuses increasingly higher mass elements until finally a core of iron and nickel is made. Fusion of iron or nickel does not produce any net energy, so further fusion can't happen, leaving the nickel-iron core inert.
When the mass of the inert core exceeds the Chandrasekhar limit of about 1.4 solar masses, electron degeneracy alone is no longer able to counter gravity. A massive implosion then takes place within seconds, in which the outer core reaches an inward velocity of up to 23% of the speed of light and the inner core reaches temperatures of up to 100 billion kelvin.
Neutrons and neutrinos are formed via reversed beta-decay, releasing about 1046 joules (100 foes) in a ten-second burst. The collapse is halted by neutron degeneracy, causing the implosion to bounce outward. The energy of this expanding shock wave is sufficient to detach the surrounding stellar material, forming a supernova explosion, while the shock wave and extreme conditions briefly allows the production of elements heavier than iron. So every bit of gold, silver, platinum etc (elements heavier than Iron) were created in a supernova through fusion literally. Every ring or gold necklace on the Earth came from a supernova. I find that amazing! :)