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The Boy Who Played With Fusion
Popular Science ^ | 2012-02-14 | Tom Clynes

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 son’s 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 wants—no, he obviously needs—to 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 family’s 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 core—becoming, at 14, the youngest individual on Earth to achieve nuclear fusion.

(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Technical; US: Arkansas; US: Nevada
KEYWORDS: fusion; fusor; nevada; stringtheory; taylorwilson
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This is a long article, and you might want to bookmark the URL for reading later.
1 posted on 02/21/2012 9:07:42 AM PST by justlurking
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To: justlurking

bfl


2 posted on 02/21/2012 9:12:49 AM PST by VRW Conspirator (Neo-communist equals Neo-fascist)
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To: Oberon

Ping for later.


3 posted on 02/21/2012 9:17:12 AM PST by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: justlurking

Finished 2nd. in the Science Fair to a kid who built a diorama about Global Warming


4 posted on 02/21/2012 9:21:54 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: justlurking

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.


5 posted on 02/21/2012 9:27:31 AM PST by refermech
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To: justlurking

What an amazing piece.....and an even more amazing kid!


6 posted on 02/21/2012 9:30:34 AM PST by RightOnline
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To: justlurking

Hopefully he doesn't have a sister named, "Dee Dee."

7 posted on 02/21/2012 9:32:40 AM PST by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: justlurking
Great article! Thx for posting it.

I just read the whole thing and loved every minute of it!!!

8 posted on 02/21/2012 9:35:03 AM PST by RoosterRedux (Go Newt!)
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To: justlurking

Great read! Thanks!


9 posted on 02/21/2012 9:36:36 AM PST by rawhide
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To: justlurking

Someone needs to ask this guy to build a 10Kw home Thorium based generator.


10 posted on 02/21/2012 9:38:45 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: refermech

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.


11 posted on 02/21/2012 9:45:21 AM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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!


12 posted on 02/21/2012 9:45:46 AM PST by Bartholomew Roberts
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Oh man...I literally LOL’d on that one...


13 posted on 02/21/2012 9:45:49 AM PST by LivingNet
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To: justlurking
Interesting read.

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."

14 posted on 02/21/2012 9:46:41 AM PST by DoughtyOne (Abortion? No. Gov't heath care? No. Gore on warming? No. McCain on immigration? No.)
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To: justlurking

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.


15 posted on 02/21/2012 9:47:16 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: justlurking
This is a long article, and you might want to bookmark the URL for reading later.

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.

16 posted on 02/21/2012 9:48:48 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: justlurking

Hold for later.


17 posted on 02/21/2012 9:53:07 AM PST by SharpRightTurn ( White, black, and red all over--America's affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
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To: justlurking

Great article

The kid is making yellowcake in his garage.....

Great.............. :(


18 posted on 02/21/2012 9:58:36 AM PST by MindBender26 (New Army SF and Ranger Slogan: Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord.... but He subcontracts!)
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To: MindBender26

One of my reactions to this article is that I certainly hope that the kid has some kind of security detail.


19 posted on 02/21/2012 10:02:49 AM PST by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: justlurking
That was a great article.

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.

20 posted on 02/21/2012 10:05:05 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: from occupied ga; All
This is a long article, and you might want to bookmark the URL for reading later.
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.


Good plan. Save your attention for more important pursuits, like the new Hooter's Girls calendar, and coupons for some Pabst Blue Ribbon TV trays for those 'formal' occasions when your in-laws come over.
21 posted on 02/21/2012 10:07:26 AM PST by mkjessup (Speak of the devil (see URL above) LOL)
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To: justlurking
that the package has been opened and inspected by the TSA

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.

22 posted on 02/21/2012 10:10:30 AM PST by Repeat Offender (While the wicked stand confounded, call me with Thy Saints surrounded)
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To: refermech

Trust me. Home school him. You won’t regret it. Get him out of public schools as fast as you possibly can.


23 posted on 02/21/2012 10:11:27 AM PST by RightOnline
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To: justlurking
the biggest rocket ever launched,

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.

24 posted on 02/21/2012 10:23:28 AM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: from occupied ga

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.


25 posted on 02/21/2012 10:23:45 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: justlurking

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?


26 posted on 02/21/2012 10:26:58 AM PST by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: mkjessup

Come on.....everyone knows you use the Michelob trays for formal occasions. Emily Post would blush at your fox pass.


27 posted on 02/21/2012 10:27:27 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: justlurking

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.


28 posted on 02/21/2012 10:27:37 AM PST by Wurlitzer (Welcome to the new USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika))
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To: justlurking

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).


29 posted on 02/21/2012 10:29:27 AM PST by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: blueunicorn6
Come on.....everyone knows you use the Michelob trays for formal occasions. Emily Post would blush at your fox pass.

Oh horrors. You're right. But deep down, I'm still swave and deboner.
30 posted on 02/21/2012 10:29:43 AM PST by mkjessup (Speak of the devil (see URL above) LOL)
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To: refermech

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.


31 posted on 02/21/2012 10:30:39 AM PST by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: from occupied ga; justlurking

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?


32 posted on 02/21/2012 10:33:36 AM PST by Liberty Tree Surgeon (Mow your own lawn!)
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To: Army Air Corps

Exactly


33 posted on 02/21/2012 10:38:43 AM PST by MindBender26 (New Army SF and Ranger Slogan: Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord.... but He subcontracts!)
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To: mkjessup
Actually watching grass grow is more interesting than this excerpt, and Hooters girls are marginally more interesting than watching grass grow, so yes.

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.

34 posted on 02/21/2012 10:40:26 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: justlurking
!

35 posted on 02/21/2012 10:41:46 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (Simple: Kill the terrorists, Protect (all) the borders, ridicule all the (remaining) Liberals :^)
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To: Liberty Tree Surgeon

Funny, when I read your post all I saw was a jackass braying.


36 posted on 02/21/2012 10:42:19 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: I still care
If you keep them straight spiritually, all the rest can be accomplished.

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.

37 posted on 02/21/2012 10:45:44 AM PST by chimera
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To: justlurking
He looks quite a bit like Robert Oppenheimer.


38 posted on 02/21/2012 10:53:19 AM PST by Boiler Plate ("Why be difficult, when with just a little more work, you can be impossible" Mom)
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To: justlurking

Wow. Worth the long read.


39 posted on 02/21/2012 10:59:17 AM PST by nixonsnose (Let's see all you lawyers argue your way out of hell.)
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To: justlurking
Imagine what a loss it would be if this boy's mother had decided to abort this brilliant young man.

I know, I know. It's off topic and belongs on another thread. I just couldn't help it from coming to mind.

40 posted on 02/21/2012 11:05:34 AM PST by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: justlurking
the youngest individual on Earth to achieve nuclear fusion

Bazinga!

41 posted on 02/21/2012 11:08:25 AM PST by frithguild (Withdraw from the 1967 Treaty on Outer Space. It bans private property and profits.)
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To: from occupied ga
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.


Could I send MY in-laws with you next time you take the yacht out? LOL ;)
42 posted on 02/21/2012 11:16:21 AM PST by mkjessup (Romney is to conservatism what e.coli is to an all-you-can-eat salad bar. NO ROMNEY!!!)
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To: Boiler Plate

WOW, that IS quite a resemblance.


43 posted on 02/21/2012 11:21:37 AM PST by mkjessup (Romney is to conservatism what e.coli is to an all-you-can-eat salad bar. NO ROMNEY!!!)
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To: frithguild
the youngest individual on Earth to achieve nuclear fusion

Nowhere in the article is that rather extraordinary claim supported.
44 posted on 02/21/2012 11:26:15 AM PST by SpaceBar
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To: justlurking

I committed my first felony at 14.


45 posted on 02/21/2012 11:27:25 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you really want to annoy someone, point out something obvious that they are trying hard to ignore)
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To: refermech
Homeschool now before it is too late, before boring institutionalized drivel from people that will never be his mental equal grind away that love of learning.
46 posted on 02/21/2012 11:32:07 AM PST by TalonDJ
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To: justlurking

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.


47 posted on 02/21/2012 11:38:23 AM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: justlurking

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.


48 posted on 02/21/2012 11:45:08 AM PST by albionin
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To: Boiler Plate

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.


49 posted on 02/21/2012 11:50:54 AM PST by albionin
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To: AppyPappy

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.


50 posted on 02/21/2012 11:51:04 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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