Saturday, September 01, 2018

"Why Genius Doesn't Matter": Tom Bilyeu debriefs young nuclear scientist Taylor Wilson in his "Impact Theory" series

In a series called “Impact Theory” Tom Bilyeu interviews nuclear scientist Taylor Wilson in a 45-minute segment called “Why Genius Doesn’t Matter: The Curiosity Kid”.  It appears to have been made in December 2017.  It popped up on Facebook this morning as everyone was talking about the passing of John McCain. Here is the link.   (Okay, yes, I remember "Deep Impact" (1998), as noted below.) 

Taylor, to refresh everyone’s memory, built a nuclear fusion reactor at home (creating a “sun”) when he was 14, in 2008.  He used uranium that he personally picked up in the Nevada desert.

Now 24, he apparently directs a research project at a company in Reno, NV closely connected to the University of Nevada.

Some of the Facebook comments pointed to Einstein and Mozart and claimed, well, talent does matter.

Wilson says the most important thing is curiosity.  I can remember in 1999, when I was working at my old hangout temporarily to be closer to mother after surgery, a colleague said I had displayed “an astonishing lack of curiosity” when I didn’t download things that would have been illegal given company policies on a work computer.  Well – I think Taylor’s remarks are more about focus.  It is really hard to be good a more than one thing.  But gifts in science and math parallel gifts in music.  Note a few of the young pianists these days making charismatic videos on YouTube.

Wilson says that science is the one field where you get rewarded for not knowing what you’re doing. Hopefully you’re not the mad scientist making “Young Frankenstein” (1974) or nurturing “Donovan’s Brain” (1953) while the disembodied organ controls the stock market telepathically.

Wilson is optimistic that the world will use science to solve its problems.  Man is the only life form that can alter its destiny deliberately, for good or bad.  You pet cat who “owns” you can’t figure out how to stop an asteroid (or large comet) from blasting Earth, but man can. (I don't think we could stop a gamma ray burst -- and a few solar storms could be severe -- see the end of this post.) I can remember back in the 1970s how Paul Rosenfels would talk about the honor of being human.  Wilson did not explicitly discuss political divisiveness or Trump’s apparent anti-science and anti-intellectual behaviors, but it was clear he thinks these can be overcome.  (It seems as though “Trump” is the name never mentioned in respectable circles.)

Wilson does say he wants to become a parent and have children, but it isn’t there yet.

Wilson also mentions that a relative died of cancer when he was a boy, just as was the case with Jack Andraka, who went on to invent a new diagnostic test.

Bilyeu had just read the book “The Boy Who Played with Fusion” written with Tom Clynes.
Taylor is a member of the Helena Group.  His website is “SciRadioactive”. He says he has not had much time for social media in the past couple of years but plans to offer more updates on the site and probably feed them into social media relatively soon.

I am going to gamble here, that Taylor finds this post.  If he does, I want him to read my essay on Medium about the power grid, “Mainstream media needs to take electric grid(s) seriously;its peril is more immediate than climate change”.  I wonder what he thinks of this issue and if he has specific knowledge as to how to parry the danger.

I guess that Taylor Wilson is more proof that "the young people will win" (or are winning).  But no one can stay biologically young forever -- yet.

(Note: I believe Taylor has worked for HBO and Vice Media, also.)
(Note: from now on, most “interviews” in series will probably be placed on the TV reviews blog.  But today it was easier to fit this in where it would have been before.)

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