Skip to comments.The Boy Who Played With Fusion
Posted on 02/21/2012 9:07:37 AM PST by justlurking
Propulsion, the nine-year-old says as he leads his dad through the gates of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. I just want to see the propulsion stuff.
A young woman guides their group toward a full-scale replica of the massive Saturn V rocket that brought America to the moon. As they duck under the exhaust nozzles, Kenneth Wilson glances at his awestruck boy and feels his burden beginning to lighten. For a few minutes, at least, someone else will feed his sons boundless appetite for knowledge.
Then Taylor raises his hand, not with a question but an answer. He knows what makes this thing, the biggest rocket ever launched, go up. And he wantsno, he obviously needsto tell everyone about it, about how speed relates to exhaust velocity and dynamic mass, about payload ratios, about the pros and cons of liquid versus solid fuel. The tour guide takes a step back, yielding the floor to this slender kid with a deep-Arkansas drawl, pouring out a torrent of Ph.D.-level concepts as if there might not be enough seconds in the day to blurt it all out. The other adults take a step back too, perhaps jolted off balance by the incongruities of age and audacity, intelligence and exuberance.
This is before Taylor would transform the familys garage into a mysterious, glow-in-the-dark cache of rocks and metals and liquids with unimaginable powers. Before he would conceive, in a series of unlikely epiphanies, new ways to use neutrons to confront some of the biggest challenges of our time: cancer and nuclear terrorism. Before he would build a reactor that could hurl atoms together in a 500-million-degree plasma corebecoming, at 14, the youngest individual on Earth to achieve nuclear fusion.
(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...
Ping for later.
Finished 2nd. in the Science Fair to a kid who built a diorama about Global Warming
Believe it or not, my some is just like this. Not sure what to do with him. He did much the same thing with the periodic tables last year. Not doing super well in school though. He has a hard time focusing on what is being taught. Time will tell but for now I signed him up for Little league so that he learns some concrete lessons. Not just theoretical.
What an amazing piece.....and an even more amazing kid!
Hopefully he doesn't have a sister named, "Dee Dee."
I just read the whole thing and loved every minute of it!!!
Great read! Thanks!
Someone needs to ask this guy to build a 10Kw home Thorium based generator.
Might not hurt to read up on the physics of baseball so you can show your son how it appears in real life.
Years ago I remember reading about how a pitcher would have a tough time throwing a curveball on mars. I was awed by it.
Oh man...I literally LOL’d on that one...
I caught this and thought folks would enjoy it.
"Funny, that spelling and grammar were my only downfall, and till this day I have problems with both. But science and technology were never a problem. I passed Jr. High and High School through osmosis, never studying, heck, I slept in every class. When home I would conduct science experiments. My GPA in high school was 1.6, and I didn't care. I think its important you take this seriously, especially if you are a parent of a genius, or a teacher, etc etc. Once I got to college I had a 4.0, dropping to a 3.9 because my philosophy teacher didn't like my capitalistic views, and refused to conform to his socialistic/communistic views."
I created nuclear fusion when I was 13. It looked like pudding. I fed some to the little neighbor boy Kirk who always followed me around. He started to glow in the dark. Mom asked me if I knew anything about why Kirk was glowing in the dark. I said, “No, but let’s use him to hunt for nightcrawlers.” Don’t laugh....paid for my particle accelerator with those nightcrawlers. Kirk? He’s a runway light these days.
If the excerpt is anything like the article, then no I won't want to read the rest of it. I have a finite lifespan, and reading drivel uses up time I'll never get back.
Hold for later.
The kid is making yellowcake in his garage.....
One of my reactions to this article is that I certainly hope that the kid has some kind of security detail.
I really hope that the federal government is keeping a close eye on that kid, for his own protection.
There are quite a few nations/organizations that would greatly covet an asset like him.
Seriously, thank God he wasn't born in Iran or North Korea.
Figuring out what was in the box would've taken up a lot of manpower that could've been otherwise spent fondling caucasian children and the elderly.
Trust me. Home school him. You won’t regret it. Get him out of public schools as fast as you possibly can.
The Soviet N1 had more liftoff thrust than the Saturn V, although the Saturn could deliver a heavier payload. And the N1 never became fully operational.
I’m in your camp. The article amounts to gushing personality worship of a kid with a obsession for collecting hazardous materials in his parent’s garage.
Very interesting. I’ve taught some brilliant kids (nothing like this) and I can tell it is exciting yet unnerving when the student knows more than you. And underneath it, the question, what do I do with this kid? How do I steer him to someplace or someone where he can step off onto a higher plane?
Come on.....everyone knows you use the Michelob trays for formal occasions. Emily Post would blush at your fox pass.
Great article and glad I took the time to read it. Those with short attention spans will lose out.
If 32 other individuals have achieved these temperatures then why are we still having this energy debate?
Is it possible, as I have been saying for years, we do not have an energy shortage but a political will shortage?
I guess if the world stopped purchasing oil from sub-human rag heads they would get really upset and start doing more bad things so the politicians of the world keep them placated with our dollars. They don’t have the intelligence to do anything else.
So PopSci is trying to make radioactivity a fun family affair connected to precocious youngsters soccer moms and dads can be proud of?
Hmmm. The Fukushima fallout cloud must have finally crossed the Pacific and hit America.
Measure the radioactivity levels in your milk lately? (No, I’m not kidding - a huge percentage of the deaths at Chernobyl came from drinking the local milk, since it concentrates the radiactive particles up the food chain).
You may be able to homeschool in some things, and utilize the public system for special things. The big thing is to make sure he is grounded and moral. Kids like this tend to be as questioning philosophically as they are scientifically, and if you are not careful, they may feel they “know more than you” in moral pursuits also.
If you keep them straight spiritually, all the rest can be accomplished.
Hmm - you were not pinged to this article, so you must have clicked in upon seeing something related to science and/or space.
I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re a Chinese plant intent on undermining the US technological base. Either that, or - based on your tag line - you are pining away for the antebellum South, where what we do now with that new-fangled internal combustion and electrical power was performed by your happy, docile slaves in the field.
Care to inform us which is closer to the truth?
Pabst Blue Ribbon TV trays 'formal' occasions when your in-laws come over
That may be what you do, but I take the in-laws out on the yacht. There's always the chance that they'll fall overboard.
Funny, when I read your post all I saw was a jackass braying.
I would add that spiritually also blends into the issues of morality, faith-informed reason and the like. I was somewhat intellectually precious as a youngster but was able to keep pretty much out of trouble for three main reasons:
1. We went to church.
2. I respected my parents and family.
3. I respected my teachers and the school authorities, and my parents backed them up.
Those three things kept any "know it all" tendencies in check.
Wow. Worth the long read.
I know, I know. It's off topic and belongs on another thread. I just couldn't help it from coming to mind.
WOW, that IS quite a resemblance.
I committed my first felony at 14.
Read the comments following the article. As someone pointed out, the kid basically recreated a Farnsworth Fusor which has been around for at least 50 years. Not bad for a kid, but not groundbreaking stuff. We should know in a few more years what he is actually capable of.
This article gives me great hope for the future. It’s so great to have someone to look up to even if he is only a teenager. When I think about all the billions of dollars going to welfare queens and kings who will never do anything with their lives nor want to, it fills me with anger. This kid should be given every resource he needs and it would not be welfare but a small down-payment on all the great things he will do to make life better for the rest of us and our children. That’s a stimulus package I could get behind. What a mind. I would be interested to know his I.Q.
why is it that all super smart people have weird hair styles? I guess they have too much going on in their brains to worry about mundane things like that.
Dad? I told you to find another web site to post on! Grandpa says he thinks you were committing misdemeanors right after you learned to walk.
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