• 6 minutes Will the trade war hurt US project builds? Not if the US does it right.
  • 12 minutes OIl Targets from Experts to $300, vs. imho $52
  • 18 minutes Oil prices going down
  • 7 hours Germany: We Can No Longer Fully Rely On U.S. White House
  • 10 hours U.S. Challenges 5 WTO Members imposing Illegal Tariffs Against U.S. Products
  • 3 hours Venezuela, the largest oil reserve in the world, faces deep shortages of motor oil
  • 4 hours Well from $74 we hit 67.xx now what?
  • 7 hours Chile Becomes The Latest Country To Commit To 100% Renewables
  • 3 hours Does S Arabia Have 2 Mln Barrels in Spare Capacity?
  • 2 hours Where 3 Million Electric Vehicle Batteries Will Go When They Retire?
  • 7 hours Trade War of 1930s, Extended the Great Depression
  • 12 hours Ireland Exits Fossil Fuels
  • 3 hours Rio Tinto Says $4-Million Goodbye to Coal
  • 7 hours Kaplan Says Rising Oil Prices Won't Hurt US Economy
  • 11 hours Is Libya the current Iran for oil markets?
  • 9 hours Apple's $300 fund in China
  • 10 hours Iran's President Warns Over U.S. Push For Countries To Stop Buying Oil From Iran
  • 10 hours Total Trade War: U.S. Threatens Tariffs On $200 BN of China Goods
Alt Text

Uzbekistan, Russia Announce Joint Nuclear Facility

Uzbekistan and Russia have struck…

Alt Text

The Downfall Of U.S. Nuclear Power

A shocking report from researchers…

Alt Text

Why Nuclear Energy Is Critical For Russia

Russia is renowned for its…

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

More Info

Trending Discussions

The Boy Genius Tackling Energy’s Toughest Problem

Nuclear

In the past year or so an unorthodox think-tank called Helena has been quietly bringing together an eclectic cross-section of brilliant individuals (mostly bright-eyed millennials) with ambitious goals. They’re focusing on the world’s biggest and most insurmountable problems: climate change and global security issues such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies, and nuclear proliferation. The elite and edgy group includes Nobel laureates, Hollywood stars, technology entrepreneurs, human rights activists, Fortune-list executives, a North Korean refugee, and more, but one of Helena’s most unique members is undoubtedly the 23-year old nuclear physicist Taylor Wilson, once known as “the boy who played with fusion”.

Taylor Wilson garnered international attention from the science world in 2008 when he became the youngest person in history to produce nuclear fusion at just 14 years old, building a reactor capable of smashing atoms in a plasma core at over 500 million degrees Fahrenheit—40 times hotter than the core of the sun—in his parents’ garage. And this all happened after he built a bomb at the age of 10. As a child in Texarkana, Arkansas, Taylor became infatuated with nuclear science after trysts with biology, genetics and chemistry. At age 11, while his classmates were playing with Easy-Bake Ovens, Wilson was taking his crack at building a particle accelerator in an effort to makes homemade radioisotopes.

Soon after he created a mini-sun in his garage, the wunderkind won $50,000 at a science fair for building a counterterrorism device that has the ability to detect nuclear materials in cargo containers, an invention which he later presented to Barack Obama in another science fair, this one sponsored by the White House.

Related: New U.S. Sanctions Threaten Russian Oil Projects

In addition to counterterrorism and nuclear fusion, Wilson has also focused his optimistic virtuosity on solving some of the major shortcomings of our health industry. In his teenage years, Wilson also created a production system for medical isotopes that can be injected into patients and used to diagnose and treat cancer. His design costs less than $100,000 and can be wheeled directly into a hospital room, with the hope to replace multimillion-dollar, warehouse-size facilities that serve the same function.

Before he was even legally able to drink a beer, Wilson had already racked up 4 million views between his two (yes, two) TED Talks (Yup, I Built A Nuclear Fusion Reactor and My Radical Plan For Small Nuclear Fission Reactors). He has a published biography written by author Tom Clynes as well as biopic in development to be directed by Jeff Nichols.

At 18, technically no longer a boy wonder but a legally-adult genius, Wilson skipped college and, armed with a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, went straight to work trying to solve the same seemingly insurmountable problem that has had nuclear scientists scratching their heads for generation: how to translate the awesome power of nuclear fusion into harnessable energy that would change the future of this planet.

Wilson has said that despite this —or perhaps because of this—assimilating into the science community was no cakewalk. In a profile for the Atlantic in 2012, Wilson said, “These days, the scientific community accepts me. But getting to that point was tremendously hard... 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.” However, Wilson thinks his greenness is exactly what makes him a forward-thinker and therefore a great scientist. “Kids have a certain predisposition to do things differently and see the world differently, and that’s helpful... I think that we get a lot of scientists now who are bent into a system, and we lose some of their boldness.”

It’s exactly this young, optimistic, and daring energy that likely brought Wilson to the Helena think tank this year. In this meeting of the millennial minds, from backgrounds as diverse as Texarkana and Pyongyang, from disciplines as far-flung as nuclear fusion and human rights activism, and a whole lot of hopeful energy, it’s hard to think that something incredible won’t come out of it.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News