52 votes

Hi I'm Taylor Wilson, and I built a Nuclear Fusion Reactor @14 in My Parent's Garage; Soon, You can, Too!

Oh, and found a cheap way to detect cancer, from what used to cost 100's of thousands of dollars, to barely over $100, oh yeah, and also invented about a hundred times cheaper radiation detector for port security.

All before he's even legally allowed to drink. Now, how about that?

Meet the Future, the WunderKind: Taylor Wilson

Taylor Wilson: My radical plan for small nuclear fission reactors


Published on Apr 30, 2013
Filmed Feb. 2013, Long Beach, CA

Taylor Wilson was 14 when he built a nuclear fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 19, he returns to the TED stage to present a new take on an old topic: fission. Wilson, who has won backing to create a company to realize his vision, explains why he's so excited about his innovative design for small modular fission reactors -- and why it could be the next big step in solving the global energy crisis.

TED Bio Page:

Why you should listen to him:

Physics wunderkind Taylor Wilson astounded the science world when, at age 14, he became the youngest person in history to produce fusion. The University of Nevada-Reno offered a home for his early experiments when Wilson’s worried parents realized he had every intention of building his reactor in the garage.

Wilson now intends to fight nuclear terror in the nation's ports, with a homemade radiation detector priced an order of magnitude lower than most current devices. In 2012, Wilson's dreams received a boost when he became a recipient of the $100,000 Thiel Prize. Wilson now intends revolutionize the way we produce energy, fight cancer, and combat terrorism using nuclear technology.

"Kenneth asked a nuclear-pharmacist friend to come over to check on Taylor’s safety practices. As far as he could tell, the friend said, the boy was getting it right."

Tom Clynes, Popular Science

Additional show notes from the official TED Blog:

Good energy comes in small packages: Taylor Wilson at TED2013

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick
February 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm EDT

Taylor Wilson graduated from high school in May. And Popular Science has already dubbed him “The Boy who Played with Fusion” and Forbes has suggested that he may just be “The Bill Gates of Energy.”

Taylor Wilson: Yup, I built a nuclear fusion reactorTaylor Wilson: Yup, I built a nuclear fusion reactorWilson first received attention at the age of 14, after building a nuclear fusion reactor he’d dreamed up in his parents’ garage. He spoke at TED2012 about that experience, and he’s back this year at TED2013 to talk about a new project.

“I realized that the biggest problem we face — what all these other problems come down to — is energy,” says Wilson. “This is a talk about fission — about taking something old and bringing it into the 21st century.”

Wilson has invented Small Modular Fission Reactors. These reactors are small, meaning that they can be built in factories and shipped wherever they need to go. They are installed three meters underground — making them far safer from a counterterrorism standpoint than something aboveground. And these are molten salt reactors, which means that they have the potential to run on the waste from old nuclear weapons — making the wide distribution of this technology a potential way to secure the material from weapon stockpiles.

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Please Kid

If this is true, don't turn into a I want to be G-d trans-humanist like the rest of the standard elite crowd.


Liberty = Responsibility

Your title says fusion

if a 14 year old (or anyone ever) created a fusion reactor, mankind is in a new age. Please change it to fission

He built a working "fusor".

"The Farnsworth–Hirsch fusor, or simply fusor, is an apparatus designed (~1964)[2] by Philo T. Farnsworth to create nuclear fusion."


What are they teaching in schools these days?

Everybody should know that before building a nuclear reactor in your garage you need to pull a permit and you will probably need a zoning variance. What's happened to responsible parenting? LOL

He Will Go The Way

of the EV-1


sounds intriguing

But has this been tested? Great ideas are everywhere, but most of them don't end up working in real life. I would like to see a prototype tested and see if this thing is practical. If it turns out to be practical, this kid deserves all kinds of praise.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

TED is an elitist liberal pageant

look it up.... under wikipidea for starters, then listen to some interviews. TED is a cult that aims to create entertainment out of science for the elite at $6,000/ticket.

look at the owners... examine their views.
look at the guests... consider their motives.

then finally consider what value this pageant has ever created for humanity and the opportunity cost associated w/ this pseudo-intellectual club of egomaniacs. could the money wasted on TED be better spent to serve humanity instead of impressing the feeble-minded, so desperate to belong.

i definitely think so.

I Am Sad About TED

I have seen good stuff here but this is ALSO where I heard Bill Gates say that we had to end the human footprint on the planet. I understand what he meant where most people don't but it was still a disturbing speech he gave here and has been used to mean he is for killing people. (though that's not what he meant)


What's sad is that people can't put things in context

People on both sides simply don't accept the motives behind the people on the other side from them. What they're missing is that deep down, everyone wants basically the same things. Regardless of what side you're on of what issue, the "other side" just has a different set of fears, trusts and beliefs.

For example, liberal democrats have more faith in the government's altruism and ability to push a solution down from above. They have become cynical of the corporate corruption ever doing the right thing and they have lost all hope of peer pressure or the courts to correct bad behavior. Can you blame them on the latter? Their end goal motives are still to make the world a better place by ending tyranny (corporate first for them) and by raising the standard of living for the underprivileged.

As RP supporters, we chase the same goal from a different path and prioritize things in a different order. That's all. That's the whole difference between R & D, Lib and Cons, worldwide. What's the difference if the end goal is the same? Both sides would have to agree that we cannot take both paths at the same time. I'm willing to admit that 'it is completely possible' for their path to work. I just see the odds as having lots of zeros before any other number appears. I'm sure they feel the same of our way. The problem lies in the fact that neither side is willing to compromise enough to sit at the same table and begin fact checking each others standpoints. In essence, they've allowed the banker's trick of divide and conquer to set the agenda.

However, by discussing openly the basic ground between them, both sides will learn what drives the other and where priorities lie. This is where TED stands. It's an open forum for those ideas to shine through. I'm sure most don't realize this but there are many libertarian and even RP supporters giving speeches. They just don't get much attention because most of the TED audience is liberal.

Either way, we've got to stop this bickering between groups and nail down some hard problems we have in common so we can get organized enough to take them on. Even in your very words, you imply that TED is a negative to our cause because of Gates' words while you freely admit that it was a contextual faux paux of making a statement most here would agree with. Do you see how that is further separating the divide?


Is perfctly fine, you don't really have to like it, but ai find some of the talks intriguing.

"Truth is Treason in an Empire that lies" - Ron Paul

Educate the masses, and win in the end.

TED is voluntary

and many people enjoy the talks. So I have no problem with TED. Are they cultish? Yes. But no one is forcing you to join.

“Although it was the middle of winter, I finally realized that, within me, summer was inextinguishable.” — Albert Camus

This kid is cute,

and also obviously an intelligent young man.

On the other hand, nothing he has done, and nothing he is proposing, is even remotely scientifically "revolutionary."

He strikes me as a sort of Tony Robbins type. He is selling an idea.

That is not a criticism, but I wonder who he is selling the idea for. I wonder who is giving this bright young man (in a world full of bright young men) access to the public stage.

If he really does form a company to advance his "ideas," then I would like very closely at who the investors are. You could be looking at the next Google, and this kid could be the front man.

Don't make yourself a target

Now I worry about your safety.
Do you not know what happened with Nicholi Tesla?
I think if you're up to something nowadays, and its a threat to the establishment, then it might be wise to keep quiet.
If you call me paranoid, then I must ask, who told you so?
Was it the Government?

He is talking about putting the power companies out of business

They will ask if its metered first, and then they'll realize it never has to be, and they will try to squash him like a bug. The reactor design he has made is probably extremely sound if it ever sees the light of day it would be a miracle.

If it's practical, price

If it's practical, price competitive and performs as advertised, it will be used. Guaranteed. Problems usually arise when a new concept isn't competitive from a price or performance perspective.

I'm of the opinion that there are far better technologies

that are currently being suppressed.

Even though these are just ideas presented here, it's highly unlikely that Big Energy companies will let this kid get anywhere close to production. They'll call their buddies in the banking sector and keep funding away from this tech and they'll bury him in patent disputes and potentially suppress this, like thousands of others, under some threat to Corporate National Security.

Smart kid though. I wish him luck. He'll need it.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The regulators will step in

If we can't have a toilet with more than a 1.6 gallon tank, an incandescent light bulb or a composting toilet, what are the chances we will be allowed to bury a nuclear reactor in our back yard?

You can't keep angel

You can't keep angel investors away from a hot company. Also I know Bill Gates is even involved in a new reactor company startup. Novel, lower cost, higher power output energy systems are a very hot area right now.

Here's the company Gates is involved with: http://www.terrapower.com/

"You can't keep angel investors away from a hot company."

Really? Then why was Nikola Tesla's funding pulled by JP Morgan, who himself had investments in Big Oil companies who saw to lose major profits if not their entire industry had Tesla's work continued?

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Because Tesla signed a stupid

Because Tesla signed a stupid deal with Westinghouse, giving him all rights to future inventions. He had nothing to sell to other venture capitalists.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.

Wireless electricity couldn't be metered

And he was close. The Tesla bladeless turbine patent is something they just started using recently. They have no idea what this guy had up his sleeve. End of story on Tesla... Edison stole all his ideas and we would've been better with DC power. Every datacenter in this goddamn world is using DC power!

DC power is great once you

DC power is great once you have high-efficiency semiconductors to do voltage conversion for transmission.

If you are using rotating machinery you have very low voltage limits - far too low for long-distance transmission - because commutators arc over. Back in those days, AC and transformers beat the pants off DC and rotating machinery, transmission-efficiency wise.

DC was approaching competitive breakeven for long distance transmission about the start of the '60s. But by then so much installed plant was AC that it also had to convert back to AC at the terminal end. So very few DC long-distance transmission lines have been built. (It's gotten a LOT easier in just the last few years, thanks to Moore's Law. So you may see a few more, or even some conversions of older AC systems.)

To justify replacing in-place infrastructure you need to have, not just an advantage, but a BIG advantage. Like a factor of 10. AC is good enough that a factor of 10 isn't available.

Also: DC has some disadvantages. A big one is a safety issue: It's a lot harder to extinguish an arc with DC than AC, so you need better circuit breakers. It also has a greater risk of locking-up your muscles if you grab onto it at home-power voltages, and you'd need to rewire with more than twice as much (expensive!) copper to run your house distribution at 48V nominal. (It also makes trees bend if you don't swap the polarity occasionally.)

Now if we get a practical fusion reactor of a polywell style (or another that can do P + B11 -> 3 He4) which can direct-convert the fusion energy to DC by electrostatic deceleration of fusion products, you'll get the output as DC at about twice the voltage of the current DC transmission lines (which could be handled very easily by existing DC transmission technology with larger semiconductor and insulator stacks, slightly taller poles, and fatter hollow wires). This might drive the installation of new DC transmission long-lines operating at the natural voltage of the fusion products of this reaction, allowing reactors to be hooked directly to (the positive side of) the high lines without voltage conversion equipment, cutting long-line terminating equipment costs by maybe 20%.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.

Now imagine what they've been cooking up

in black budget projects over the last 100+ years since Tesla's suppression. As you said, we barely have the tech today that he was alive for. Imagine the power sources they must be tapping into and what "alien" technology they must have developed.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Comparing Tesla's situation

Comparing Tesla's situation with Morgan to today's competitive investing environment is ludicrous. There are many more millionaires and billionaires today and the search for hot start-ups is very, very competitive.

Oh yeah, because Big Oil and Big Energy just love competition

Are you for real? Have you seriously not heard or read anything about how inventions and inventors that try to eliminate the need for fossil fuels end up buried in lawsuits or end up dead!?

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Of course I've heard those

Of course I've heard those stories. I've also heard stories about the Easter Bunny. Do you believe every fantastic story you hear? I doubt it.

We have disagreements n the past

But I agree here, where are the citations of these cases actually happening? Otherwise, its pure spectulatio.

"Truth is Treason in an Empire that lies" - Ron Paul

Educate the masses, and win in the end.

So if you liken this topic to the Easter Bunny

Why are you here? What's your purpose here? Lamely try to get people worked up like a troll? I've got better things to do, thanks.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Yes, troll away elsewhere

Yes, troll away elsewhere mate.


Did you ever think that someone could sue the US Patent Office for crimes against humanity since they are with-holding technology that could, potentially, bring every man-woman-child out of poverty?

I mean, how many patents on ZPE, Cold Fusion, Anti-Gravity, etc do you think the USPO has in their possession? At least a couple thousand, I would think...

If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.