At 14, Taylor Wilson became the youngest person to achieve fusion — with a reactor born in his garage. Now he wants to save our seaports from nuclear terror.

Why you should listen

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.

What others say

“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

Taylor Wilson on the TED Blog
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Live from TED2014

Nuclear fission reactors, Africa’s Einsteins and the healing power of nature: A recap of “Beauty and the Brain,” All-Stars Session 2 at TED2014

March 19, 2014

By Liz Jacobs and Thu-Huong Ha   Our brains work in mysterious ways. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and sometimes, they make us 19-year old geniuses. The 11 speakers in this All-Stars session specialize in areas of the brain as diverse as personality, trauma and gender, but they all agree: Our minds […]

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Science

3 teenage thinkers with big ideas for energy

April 30, 2013

Taylor Wilson has been called “The Boy Who Played With Fusion” by Popular Science magazine. At age 9, Wilson stunned tour guides at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with his complex understanding of rocket science. At 12, he set out to make a “star in a jar.” By 14, Wilson had become […]

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Science

Good energy comes in small packages: Taylor Wilson at TED2013

February 27, 2013

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.” Wilson 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 […]

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Quotes from Taylor Wilson

I started out with a dream to make a star in a jar, and I ended up … making things that I think can change the world.
Taylor Wilson
TED2012 • 2.4M views Mar 2012
Inspiring, Jaw-dropping