The amazing story of Taylor Wilson is an inspiration to the amateur in all of us. Taylor is a 22-year-old self-taught applied nuclear physicist. He began his career as nuclear scientist at the age of 10. He was not an academic prodigy who embarked on an accelerated path to higher learning. In fact, he does not even have a university degree and has never published in a journal – these are the two perquisites for being hired as a nuclear scientist. Instead, Taylor focused on learning as much as possible as quickly as he could. The result, he produced nuclear fusion at the age of 14 – the youngest person to ever have done so. And this is just the beginning.
Taylor has invented a working radiation detector that costs a few hundred dollars per unit as opposed to the traditional radiation detector which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit.
More recently Taylor has switched his focus from nuclear fusion to nuclear fission. He is working on a clean energy source that would require less refueling and is safer than the nuclear reactors we are currently using. Fission reactors are smaller and more efficient; this brings the promise of self-sufficient energy to the developing world, one of Taylor’s goals.
Taylor is also working on less expensive methods of diagnosing cancer, this would have a dramatic impact on controlling the rising costs of health, both for individuals and governments across the globe.
Taylor has since been awarded fellowships and won a few science and engineering fairs; he has also been offered funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Everyone has tried something new, which means we all have experience as an amateur. Taylor’s journey began as a ten-year-old with a notion of building a mini sun in his parents’ garage. He spent four years acquiring the knowledge and the hardware, and spent countless hours experimenting until he had built a working nuclear reactor. This might be an extreme example, but the lesson here for those of us with more modest goals is that we can make things happen if we are determined enough and are constantly working towards our objectives. As an amateur, Taylor had no preconceived notions about science and the career path of a nuclear physicist. When he needed a mass spectrometer for his nuclear reactor, he simply wrote a letter for a former astronaut and asked for it – it was that simple.
Here are five inspiring quotes from Taylor Wilson:
“When I said I wanted to build a nuclear fusion reactor in the garage, I think most parents would say no. But my personality is persistent and persuasive.” – Taylor Wilson
“Nuclear can be used for good or bad. There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.” – Taylor Wilson
“People fear radioactivity because it is very mysterious. You want to have respect for it, but not be paralyzed by fear.” – Taylor Wilson
“My life has been this series of events that I didn’t see coming. It’s both exciting and daunting to know you’re going to be constantly trying to one-up yourself.” – Taylor Wilson
“People can have their opinions about what I should do next, but my biggest pressure is internal. I hate resting on laurels. If I burn out, I burn out – but I don’t see that happening. I’ve more ideas than I have time to execute.” – Taylor Wilson
Author: Phil Zavackis
Phil Zavackis is a freelance writer living in Toronto. He has recently finished a screenplay titled ‘105 Degrees & Rising’, which is about the Fall of Saigon in 1975. https://www.quora.com/profile/Phil-Zavackis/blogs