June 11th, 2012
05:09 PM ET

Taylor Wilson, nuclear prodigy

Editor's note: Taylor Wilson was the subject of CNN's "The Next List," airing Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

By The Next List Staff, CNN

(CNN) -  Taylor Wilson is an applied nuclear physicist. He is also 18.

A recent graduate of Davidson Academy, a school for profoundly gifted kids in Reno, Nevada, Wilson has been captivated by nuclear energy and nuclear power since he was 10 years old..

Among his many achievements:

Wilson became the youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion when he was 14 years old. He began the project in his garage in Arkansas but finished it while a student at Davidson, which is located on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.

He has built a device that can detect nuclear materials in cargo containers and is currently being field tested.
He entered that project last year in Intel’s premiere science fair and won $50,000.

He also showed his counter-terrorism device off to President Obama at the White House Science Fair this year to great effect.

Wilson's latest achievement is developing a working prototype to make radioactive isotopes in a much smaller, more portable, device.  It could revolutionize how and where cancer treatments are administered.

The teen-ager was inspired to work on medical isotopes by his grandmother, who died of cancer.

He has won a dozen awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) the Super Bowl of science fairs, over the past four years.

Despite offers from the top universities in the country, he’s chosen to take a fellowship offered by Peter Thiel, of PayPal fame. The fellowship pays him $100,000 over the next two years. Wilson plans to start a company to further develop and market his devices.

Taylor Wilson is a prodigy who could do just about anything he wants. His goal is to use his gifts to solve some of the biggest scientific and medical challenges facing mankind.

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