14-Year-Old Created a Fusion Reactor [Video]

Now 17, Taylor Wilson talks about how he believes that kids can change the world – citing the nuclear reactor he made in his parent’s garage when he was 14 years old!

Dream big people. He wanted to make a star, and he created something amazing. You may not be able to build a nuclear reactor or a world-class security system, but find out something that you CAN do amazingly, and get out there and do it!

[Via TED]


17 Responses to 14-Year-Old Created a Fusion Reactor [Video]

  1. Yeah, right.
    I wonder why he didn't actually show his setup.
    The fusion reactors I know are research projects worth more than a billion euros, and taking up waaay more space than there is in a garage. I very much doubt that he got magnets and microwave heating equipment to create and contain a high-energy plasma. The only thing that he could have conceivably built in his garage would be a particle accelerator. And he did say that he didn't get as much energy out of the process as he put in.

    So, while it technically might really be a fusion reactor, I wouldn't want to call it that and dilute the meaning that term SHOULD have (in regards to the real deal, Tokamak and Stellerator-Type reactors).

    • Of course, this isn't to discount that he did actually accomplish this. I've been following this kid for the last year or so, and he's a pretty smart kid (understatement), and -very- passionate about nuclear power and the future of nuclear technologies.

      Now I don't know the specs of what he built (I haven't been able to find an in depth article or publication detailing it), but I would keep an eye on this kid. Might turn into the nuclear energy Neil deGrasse Tyson.

      • There is no denying that he is damn smart indeed. But if he wants to be a scientist in the public eye, he should learn to present what he has properly. I am accustomed to something else than what he was doing there from the other TED talks I've seen.
        He's hardly backing the points he said he was trying to make at the start. Maybe that's just me though.

    • He states at the beginning that he's there to tell kids basically they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. Worked for Doctor Emmett Brown. Worked for this kid. Will work for us all.

  2. One where the frack did this kid get ahold of nuclear material. I mean you cant walk into a 7-11 and buy that atleast not in the ones I have been to.

    • It actually came from many sources. Lots of things made back in the day were radioactive so he went with a geiger counter to antique stores. Then, I believe, it was his grandmother's waste as she was undergoing treatments. Then going out to bomb tests sites in the desert for family vacation. There is a rather large article on him and his path. I'll see if I can find it.

    • You can get small amounts of nuclear material from lots of different common items. Smoke detectors are one example. Go out, buy a bunch of salvaged or scrap smoke detectors and you can scrape together a significant amount of americium-124. (Which is why any tech device should be recycled instead of tossed into the garbage. You don't always know what's in them.)

  3. how the heck he got the deuterium? Isn't it kinda difficult to find in our planet? also, does he got any tools or equipment for radiation or something?

    • It's not hard to find – just take a large enough container with ocean water and you are bound to have some deuterium in it (according to wikipedia, ~156 ppm). The tricky part is to isolate it, I suppose.

  4. He created nuclear fusion yes, but it had a negligible output, what the Multimillion dollar guys are trying to do is build one that gives out more power than you put in.
    Shame he's so far up his own ass.

  5. He’s famous for the Fusion reactor. It’s an impressive achievement for a kid that age.

    And yes. He’s pretty full of himself. That’s actually rather the point in this example…he listed accomplishments of a child. He listed the things he did, as a child, to encourage children to do the same.

    Not how I’d want to see most TED talks, decidedly short and disappointing on content…but what he’s done is impressive. How many people do you know of ANY age that have designed revolutionary hardware for the military, or created yellow cake uranium?

    My list for the first is one, and the second is zero.

  6. Its just a Farnsworth Hirsch Fusor, basic star in a jar. Its not even his invention, its was developed way back in the 1930's.

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