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Teen Physicist Taylor Wilson Makes Advances In Nuclear Safety (WATCH)

Posted: 04/ 4/2012 2:25 pm Updated: 04/ 4/2012 2:25 pm

Taylor Wilson Teen Physicist

Physics, the most-loathed class for many high school students, is teen scientist Taylor Wilson's greatest passion. In fact, he even goes so far as to compare his work with radioactive substances to a love affair.

The 17-year-old told CBS News: "When I hold something that's radioactive, it's kind of an indescribable feeling. It's kind of like when I'm with my girlfriend."

Taylor started researching nuclear power and radioactivity in fifth grade, according to his parents. At 14, Taylor became the youngest person ever to create nuclear fission, and now he is in the process of building his own nuclear reactor.

In his lab in the basement of the University of Nevada, Reno physics department, Taylor routinely handles radiation -- but don't worry, the levels are low enough that his safety isn't in jeopardy. He also taught a graduate-level nuclear physics course at the university last semester.

Taylor's work in physics has also earned him recognition from President Obama. He gushed: “I started out with a dream to make a star in a jar in my garage, and I ended up meeting the President of the United States!”

What's next for the teenage genius? Perhaps unsurprisingly, he's working on a cure for cancer.

"There's nothing that's impossible to me," he told CBS.

Other amazing teen scientists on a fast-track to changing the world include 17-year-old Marian Bechtel, who was inspired by her piano to invent a landmine-tracking device to be used in war zones. Another Nobel laureate in-the-making is Angela Zhang, who spoke at TEDxTeen last week. Angela has already devised a potential cancer cure in her after-school time and won $100,000 in the national Siemens science contest.

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Filed by Carolyn Gregoire  |