Sunday, 7 February 2016

Super Humans - Taylor Wilson

   Taylor Wilson (born May 7, 1994) is an American nuclear physicist and science advocate. In 2008, at age 14, he became the youngest person to produce nuclear fusion, using a fusor. Taylor Wilson was born in 1994 in Texarkana, Arkansas to Kenneth and Tiffany Wilson. Kenneth is the owner of a Coca-Cola bottling plant, and Tiffany was a Yoga instructor. Wilson was initially interested in rocketry and space science, before entering the field of nuclear science at age 10. He had a lot of support from his parents. During high school Wilson attended both the Davidson Academy of Nevada and the University of Nevada, Reno where he was given a laboratory to conduct his fusion research. He resides in Reno, Nevada. In June 2012, Wilson was awarded a Thiel Fellowship. The two-year $100,000.00 fellowship requires recipients to forgo college for the duration of the fellowship. In 2008, Wilson achieved nuclear fusion using an Inertial Electrostatic Confinement device which was a variation of the fusor, invented by Philo T. Farnsworth in 1964. He utilized the flux of neutrons from a deuterium-deuterium fusion reaction to conduct nuclear experiments, as well as studied novel fusion fuels inside the IEC device. In March 2012, Wilson spoke at a TED conference regarding the building of his fusion reactor. Along with the IEC reactors, Wilson has conducted fusion research using Dense Plasma Focus devices he also constructed and developed nuclear diagnostics for basic fusion research. In May 2010, Wilson entered the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California, and won several awards for his project titled "Fission Vision: The Detection of Prompt and Delayed Induced Fission Gamma Radiation, and the Application to the Detection of Proliferated Nuclear Materials". In May 2011, Wilson entered his radiation detector in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, against a field of 1,500 competitors and won a US$50,000 award. The project, “Countering Nuclear Terrorism: Novel Active and Passive Techniques for Detecting Nuclear Threats”, won the First Place Award in the Physics and Astronomy Category, Best of Category Award, and the Intel Young Scientist Award. Wilson stated he hopes to test and rapidly field the devices to US ports for counterterrorism purposes. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Energy offered federal funding to Wilson concerning research Wilson has conducted in building inexpensive Cherenkov radiation detectors; Wilson has declined on an interim basis due to pending patent issues. Traditional Cherenkov detectors usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (USD), while Wilson invented a working detector that cost a few hundred dollars.

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