Taylor Wilson


American Nuclear Scientist and Science Advocate

Author Quotes

There's nothing that's impossible to me. You can ask my parents.

These days, the scientific community accepts me. But getting to that point was tremendously hard, and I think it required a big perception shift. When people have dedicated their lives to something - and spent eight years in college - they just expect that a kid wouldn't be up to doing it.

When I hold something that's radioactive, it's kind of an indescribable feeling. It's kind of like when I'm with my girlfriend.

When I was 10 years old, that nuclear spark hit me. Whatever it may be, I really don't know what it was about nuclear science, but whatever it was that triggered that interest, it stuck. I went after that one with a passion.

Yup, I built a nuclear fusion reactor.

So my name is Taylor Wilson. I am 17 years old and I am a nuclear physicist, which may be a little hard to believe, but I am. And I would like to make the case that nuclear fusion will be that point, that the bridge that T. Boone Pickens talked about will get us to. So nuclear fusion is our energy future. And the second point, making the case that kids can really change the world.

So that's my fusion reactor in the background there. That is me at the control panel of my fusion reactor. Oh, by the way, I make yellowcake in my garage, so my nuclear program is as advanced as the Iranians. So maybe I don't want to admit to that. This is me at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, which is the preeminent particle physics laboratory in the world. And this is me with President Obama, showing him my Homeland Security research.

So this previous year, I won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. I developed a detector that replaces the current detectors that Homeland Security has. For hundreds of dollars, I've developed a system that exceeds the sensitivity of detectors that are hundreds of thousands of dollars. I built this in my garage.

The stars are giant fusion reactors. They're giant nuclear cauldrons in the sky.

I've developed a system to produce medical isotopes. Instead of requiring multi-million-dollar facilities I've developed a device that, on a very small scale, can produce these isotopes.

My holy grail is fusion energy. Nuclear fusion has little to no radioactive waste. It's clean. It's very abundant. The fuels are everywhere. There are problems with fusion.

I've been focused on detecting nuclear terrorism at ports, in cargo containers, and I developed and built detectors that are extremely cheap and also very sensitive. My other big development is a system to produce medical isotopes that are injected into patients and used to diagnose and treat cancer.

I have too many ideas for a lifetime.

I really have become convinced that nuclear fusion is our energy future. It's so powerful. I mean, it is the power of the stars. If we could bring that down to the laboratory and to the power plant on Earth, that would be an incredible thing.

I started out with a dream to make a star in a jar in my garage, and I ended up meeting the President of the United States!

I started out with a dream to make a star in a jar, and I ended up ? making things that I think can change the world.

I think there's something really poetic about using nuclear power to propel us to the stars, because the stars are giant fusion reactors. They're giant nuclear cauldrons in the sky.

I was about 10 when I got into nuclear science. That was when that spark hit me. It took a few years of research, but when I was 14, I produced my first nuclear-fusion reaction.

If you look at the scientists who really make a difference, they think boldly. They're not afraid to question what they see.

As a kid, I was obsessed with space. Well, I was obsessed with nuclear science too, to a point, but before that, I was obsessed with space, and I was really excited about, you know, being an astronaut and designing rockets, which was something that was always exciting to me.

Everybody after Fukushima had to reassess the safety of nuclear. When I set out to design a reactor, I knew it had to be passive and intrinsically safe.

I developed a counterterrorism device that's revolutionizing the way we detect nuclear materials.

I don't mean to offend anybody, but I think that we get a lot of scientists now who are bent into a system, and we lose some of their boldness by that. Obviously, you have to learn the ropes, but I think it's important to do that without hammering out the radicalness that makes innovation happen.

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American Nuclear Scientist and Science Advocate