Taylor Wilson, Teenage Nuclear Physicist. [Somewhat O.T.]

Nevada teen Taylor Wilson is quite a remarkable young man who has grown up with a self-described obsession with radioactivity. At the age of fourteen he built a working fusion reactor in his parents’ garage, and now is working on building portable radioactive isotopes that can be used for medical diagnosis in hospitals.

In a recent blog he wrote at CNN, Wilson says:

One of these technologies, nuclear fusion, is perhaps the disruptive technology that we are in desperate need of. We don’t have the energy source that the human race will need to survive centuries into the future. We are polluting our planet with fossil fuels and even without this eventuality, the simple fact of the matter is we won’t have fossil fuels forever. In fact, we won’t even have uranium to run commercial nuclear power plants for all that long either. Even if we did, the problems with accidents and spent nuclear fuel are still a major concern with these plants.

Nuclear fusion, on the other hand, is potentially more powerful than our fission-based power stations but depending on the fuel cycle, produces very little to no residual radiation or radioactive waste. It is also universally abundant. The fuels, whether they be hydrogen, heavy-hydrogen, lithium or boron, are found all around us.

It’s always interesting to me when I learn about people who have a skill or interest that they develop from very early years. Sometimes people know from childhood what they want to devote their lives to. I don’t know if Taylor has studied anything connected with LENR/cold fusion, but I would hope that at some point he might get interested and apply his considerable powers of creativity and determination to see whether he can help make strides in this emerging field. A couple of interesting videos are posted below — the first a TED talk about building his fusion reactor, and the second a feature on his work with medical devices.

  • the snake

    homeland security research with Obama, cure for cancer and a fusion reactor at 14, this is the Justin Bieber of LENR

  • dragon

    What I take from this article is that if THERE IS NO LAW that forbids playing with uranium in your garage and creating enough yellow cake to make a dirty bomb, then there will be no law in using and playing with LENR in your garage also.

    Somehow, I get this feeling with this kid that he is used as postcard boy by some strange political force that has an agenda (don’t know what yet), but he gets way too much publicity and his story does not compute with actual law regarding civilian use of yellow cake.
    Again, the fact he can make yellow cake in his garage and he is authorised to do it before maturity age, feels beyond belief, knowing how police state our society has become in recent years. What do you think ’bout that?

    • Ged

      There’s no way he can make weapons grade uranium (taking the 0.75% abundant uranium 235 and enriching it to 85% or more of your material). That takes centrifugal forces capable of separating out three atomic mass units! It’s something for instance Iran sent decades trying to accomplish.

      Consequently, uranium 238, the most abundant form (over 99% abundant), is not that dangerous, and is not fissile. Nothing wrong with him or anyone else concentrating natural uranium (uranium is everywhere, it’s in your soil, your water, and your body).

      What’s more dangerous is taking the americium from smoke detectors and concentrating that. You really can get a fission reactor from it, with a few other additions I will not mention.

  • Roger Bird

    Taylor Wilson may prove that it is easier to work within a socially accepted paradigm than it is to see out of the box.

  • Dex

    CNN is the mercenary news agency… somebody is behind that kid, somebody who has the interest to promote hot fusion… not cold one or LENR… name it as you like… someone needs money to create a “star” on Earth… a star which needs so strong magnetic fields to contain it – so it doesn’t outputs useful heat input-output is still 1:1… it never goes beyond it… it has been so since the beginning… since ’60 and the first tokamak drawings… even the ITER in France is EXPERIMENTAL fusion reactor… why it’s so big? Because they are hoping to “catch” 0.1 higher output than input… pathetic…

    • F. Guimaraes

      Hot fusion, explored for energy generation, is a dead end with our present level of knowledge about the (quantum) EM field.
      A probable solution for the stability problem could involve the use of weak interactions to constrain the radioactive process.
      This is beyond our present knowledge and all attempts using MHD are faded to fail.
      We need to rethink our entire quantum field models to achieve that.

  • karl

    To the last commentator: what a classic puddle of narcissistic muck you leave behind. Down with you and your moronic ilk I say.

  • Sergio

    What a joke. Taylor Wilson is just an overly excited kid who happened to like reproducing others’ experiments just so he can say he did it. Combining a few things he gets the title of a nuclear physicist! I bet he wouldn’t know the first thing about some of the mathematical framework underlying nuclear physics (or the meaning of some of his spoken physics). Look at him in that interview going on about how he’s just 17 and is changing the world (I’m sure he’ll one day sue the reporter who wrote him that speech). Seriously, and how were his parents so stupid to let him play with radioactive materials when he was 14? Anyone with half a brain and sufficient material resources can reproduce experiments, that doesn’t mean that they should! People go to specialized training for years to learn how to safely attend to nuclear experiments… you can’t simply be born with innate knowledge about this!! and in the process proclaim a genius!! Unbelievable.. the fact that this kid decided that nuclear bombs are cool and that he should be cool by associating himself with them just makes me sick. All big words. I’m sure media had a field day with his story too. It’s only a matter of time before a photoshop of this guy and Einstein shows up on the net. I’m surprised this dude didn’t end up mentioning how he’s in the process of finishing the third stage of his intercontinental ballistic missile delivery system, seeing how he already equated himself with the Iranian scientist by showing the cameras his yellow cake and explicitly mentioning how he makes it in his lab. But then again, I guess this story goes towards science popularization campaign so from that perspective it’s fine, but the science shown is as good as the one in a good sci-fi show.

  • Rogerborg

    I think Wilson is mostly interested in actual science.

    • joe j

      Yes, he is NOT interested in LENR.

      • Ged

        You do know that the fusion reactor he made uses hydrogen and palladium (or was it platinum, I always get those crossed)? Using a high voltage through the pd/pt wire, you can get hydrogen fusion at the surface. You can even make enough heat to warm a cup of coffee. But it’s a net loss of energy.

        Sounds suspiciously along the tracks towards LENR, doesn’t it?

  • Filip

    In a CF device one need to have an elecrticity input to trigger the effect of fusion between two atoms. Once there’s fusion, one gets excess energy output(in the form of heat), but it’s not related to the input energy. The input electricity is there to trigger and stabilise the effect.

    Is this correct? This is how I explane it-in a simple way-to my friends and family.

    Let me know if I am wrong here, maybe to formulate it even in a more simple way.

    • Ol’ Bab

      You have it right enough for most cases. There are exceptions:
      A few do it with cavitation, violent churning of water.
      Some are getting heat with heat as input. This bunch gets small returns.

      All, I think, get better results as the temperature increases, simply as a general rule of material interactions.

      Ol’ Bab, who was an engineer…

      • Filip

        Thx
        …but once an engineer, always an engineer 🙂

  • Ron

    Here is a really good video on Taylor Wilson from the Next List on CNN. http://cnn.com/video/?/video/tech/2012/06/11/next-taylor-wilson-1.cnn

  • http://www.american-reporter.com Joe Shea

    It’s been five days without news, Frank. The natives are getting restless!

    • admin

      We’ve just gotta be patient, Joe — enjoy life while we wait for good things to happen.

    • Joe Varcadipane

      Joe, it’s been some time since we have passed company. It is nice to see that we follow the same passions! Your presence has been missed on the the farm. Your brother has done great justice to the old farm house. Hope you have been well and I look forward to seeing your ever informative input to a cause that we both deem worthy. Hope you make it up north one of these days. I hope you are getting some fine use out of your fathers desk. Be well, J.V.!

      • http://www.american-reporter.com Joe Shea

        Many thanks, Joe – it’s great to hear from you, even on this unlikely site! I am hoping I’ll get home sometime in the next year and will see you them. Who knows? Maybe an E-Cat will be warming the stable next Winter! Hope the wife and family are well!

  • s

    I applaud this individual. Obviously the engineering it took to make both a fusion reactor and the portable isotope generator shows a keen scientific insight. I also like that he is published in scientific journals. Comparing these scientific accomplishments to the many different individuals and organizations who are taking a lot of time with making a simple hot water heater work is a stark contrast indeed.

    • http://www.american-reporter.com Joe Shea

      Watching TV the other day, I caught the CNN piece on Taylor Wilson and thought to myself how great it would be if we could get his attention turned to LENR/cold fusion before the quantum people rein him in. Maybe comments on his blog could advance that?

  • Kim

    Love to see young scientists

    What happens to people when they get older???

    To much fear,control,politics does them in.

    Respect
    Kim

  • vbasic

    “At the age of fourteen he built a working fusion reactor in his parents’ garage.”
    I don’t think so, unless it was a Farnsworth device. He doesn’t seem to be a LENR guy (DARN IT) We can use a new generation. This guy reminds me of the kid who was so obsessed with things radioactive, he bought up hundreds old smoke detectors, old radium watches, etc. dismantled them and accumulated the radioactive material. The family house ended up having to be de-contaminated. And yet, until his twenties, he continued his activities although warned to stop. Finally, he ended up with radiation sores all over, and possibly cancer.

    • vbasic

      http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-02/boy-who-played-fusion?page=all

      The above is a more detailed article on Taylor Wilson who invented a portable fusor NOT a fusion reactor all the press has reported. It’s a neutron generator he wants to use to make medical isotopes inexpensively. All good stuff but not LENR and his protege was David Hahn, the Radioactive Boy Scout. Both had an obsession of owning all things radioactive.

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  • georgehants

    From SmartPlanet, beats frank’s youngster.
    10-year-old cracks science puzzle and co-authors paper
    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/science-scope/10-year-old-cracks-science-puzzle-and-co-authors-paper/12953

  • georgehants

    Could well be in some way connected to Cold Fusion.
    Pekka !!!!!!

    Rice University News & Media
    ‘Nanocable’ could be big boon for energy storage.
    “We didn’t expect to create this when we started,” said study co-author Jun Lou, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Rice. “At the outset, we were just curious to see what would happen electrically and mechanically if we took small copper wires known as interconnects and covered them with a thin layer of carbon.”
    http://news.rice.edu/2012/06/07/nanocable-could-be-big-boon-for-energy-storage/

  • Cliff Bradley

    I for one, think this is an exciting article. Yes, what he says is obvious. However, he APPLIES what he knows and makes working devices that do important stuff.

    The problem with most LENR projects is that they are just sitting in a lab somewhere.

    Rossi and Wilson share a passion for making real things that work for real people. I wonder what they might accomplish together.

  • Bertuswonkel

    Can’t we just send an an email and ask him if he follows the cold fusion saga

    • Filip

      Maybe we can ask his opinion.

      • Bertuswonkel

        I just did, hope he replies.

        • Camilo

          I was thinking to do it myself until I read your message. Thanks, please keep us updated on this.

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  • Filip

    I always hear: LENR is real! yeah sure no doubt, I believe LENR is real and every scientist on the planet too.
    The billion dollar question is: can we get HIGHER excess energy OUT than IN from CF.
    Taylor Wilson’s has a COP>1, interesting but worthless.

    • Filip

      COP<1
      sorry!

  • daniel maris

    He doesn’t say COLD fusion and it’s only a statement of the burluddy obvious. So, while I am sure he’s a nice guy but I am not sure what this article is for.

    Let’s face it, news on LENR is rather thin on the ground at the moment. One hopes for a breakthrough, but it seems pointless to indulge in optimism for its own sake.

    • admin

      Yeah, I know its a bit off topic, Daniel — just thought this was in interesting person, and hope that people like this could get involved in the CF field.

      • Stephen Taylor

        Enjoyed it. Somewhere I saw a lengthy narrative on his early life and development of his interest in radioactivity. There were pictures of his garage workshop and descriptions of some early adventures. Very entertaining reading. I will see if I can find the article and post a link for those who would like more information on this fascinating individual.