The Boy Who Played With Fusion

by Bella Rum

I’m up in the middle of the night again and finding all sorts of things to pass the time. Have you heard about Taylor Wilson? He’s a brilliant kid. At age 14, he became the youngest person in the world to build a working nuclear-fusion reactor. He actually built it in his garage. He entered it in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. For the past three years, Taylor has dominated that competition. The Boy Who Played With Fusion is a long but fascinating article.

Can you imagine parenting a kid who is scary brilliant, a kid whose IQ far surpasses your own before he’s 9-years-old? It must have been difficult and a little frightening to try to keep their son from blowing up the house and neighborhood while simultaneously nurturing his insatiable obsession with nuclear energy. It’s easy to see why some parents would try to curb, redirect or even forbid it, but Taylor’s mother took him to antique stores in search of radium-dial alarm clocks, thorium lantern mantles and uranium-glazed Fiesta plates. Quite a story.

Watch a video of Taylor Wilson talking about making his “star in a jar” and the radiation detector (built in his garage for a couple hundred dollars) that replaced Homeland Security’s former radiation detectors – a couple hundred thousand dollars.