PopSci.com on “The Boy Who Played With Fusion”

FusiongarageI don't particularly care to keep spotlighting Taylor Wilson at the expense of the other outstanding Fusioneers of all ages from all over the world who are experimenting with the fundamental forces of the universe in their basements and garages, but when one of our number garners a mult-page feature on one of the most popular science-related sites on the Internets, even-handed discretion has to take a back seat to running the flag up the pole and saluting.

The article is quite the profile of the Nuclear Prodigy as a Very Young Boy:

At 10, Taylor hung a periodic table of the elements in his room. Within a week he memorized all the atomic numbers, masses and melting points.

Isn't that what we all did when we were 10 years old?

After reading about "The Radioactive Boy Scout," Taylor started to dig in:

Soon Taylor was getting into more esoteric “naughties”—radium quack cures, depleted uranium, radio-luminescent materials—and collecting mysterious machines, such as the mass spectrometer given to him by a former astronaut in Houston. As visions of Chernobyl haunted his parents, Taylor tried to reassure them. “I’m the responsible radioactive boy scout,” he told them. “I know what I’m doing.”

The PopSci article doesn't even mention Fusor.net (what's up with that, anyway?) but I suspect the site was a factor in this encounter:

At that point, only 10 individuals had managed to build working fusion reactors. Taylor contacted one of them, Carl Willis, then a 26-year-old Ph.D. candidate living in Albuquerque, and the two hit it off. But Willis, like the other successful fusioneers, had an advanced degree and access to a high-tech lab and precision equipment. How could a middle-school kid living on the Texas/Arkansas border ever hope to make his own star?

Well, he gets in touch with Carl, and he drills through the vast knowledge base that has accumulated in the forums at Fusor.net, he starts rummaging around for the necessary parts, and he starts building. 

Next thing you know, he's created a star in a jar.  It's easy. 

Well, yeah, if you know what you're doing…

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