Reno 17-Year-Old's Science Project Could Fight Terrorism

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Updated: 2/05/2012 9:01 am

Reno, Nev (KRNV & -- There is a young man on the UNR campus who some are calling a genius. He's getting ready to meet President Obama in a few days, for his invention which the government believes, could improve our national security.

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Wilson's physicist-mentor can keep up with Taylor walking down a hallway, but not always in a conversation.

"He's always at least two steps ahead of me," said professor Ron Phaneuf.

Big steps..

"I saw a big detector called the Cherenkov detector, I basically applied the Cherenkov technique to neutron detection, which had never been done before," said Wilson.

If you're not exactly sure what he was just explaining, we're not either. What matters though, is that breakthrough... led to this: the so-called "Farnsworth Fusor."

Here's how he describes it to people like you and me, who may not have always aced our science exams:

"I tell them I have a mini sun down here, creating stars on a regular basis, it's the same nuclear process, slamming together atoms so hard, they fuse together," Wilson said.   

But it's not just that this is a sophisticated piece of equipment, it's that this one day could help fight terrorism.

"I've developed a system that can scan cargo containers for Weapons of Mass Destruction," he said.

This "fusor" can detect nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. And the Department of Homeland Security wants to use Taylor's model, which when developed, could scan millions of cargo containers quickly at US Ports he says, and save the country millions.

Quite the feat for a 17 year old.

"Some people think so, yes," said Wilson.

But after all, this is a kid who breathes physics.

"Do you have dreams about nuclear science?" asked reporter Andrew Del Greco.

"I do indeed!" said Wilson.

Ron Phaneuf has been a physics professor for decades. Here's what he says about Taylor.

"There has never been someone like Taylor; he's one of a kind," said Phaneuf.

President Obama will get to see that on Tuesday.

The reason Taylor is meeting the president, is because his invention beat out at least 5,000 science projects from gifted students around the country.

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buacl - 2/4/2012 5:59 PM
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Great job young man.

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