... This is before Taylor would transform the family’s garage into a mysterious, glow-in-the-dark cache of rocks and metals and liquids with unimaginable powers. Before he would conceive, in a series of unlikely epiphanies, new ways to use neutrons to confront some of the biggest challenges of our time: cancer and nuclear terrorism. Before he would build a reactor that could hurl atoms together in a 500-million-degree plasma core—becoming, at 14, the youngest individual on Earth to achieve nuclear fusion...
— Tom Clynes, Popular Science, "The Boy Who Played With Fusion"
Image Courtesy Deanne Fitzmaurice for National Geographic

Image Courtesy Deanne Fitzmaurice for National Geographic

As a kid growing up in Arkansas, I was lucky to always have very understanding parents, especially in those moments when I stated my ambitions to synthesize unstable chemical compounds, build and launch rockets in the backyard, and probe the heart of matter with nuclear reactions in our garage. I've always been curious about these extremes of our understanding of the universe.

It's never lost on me how lucky I was at an early age to find a combination of three things I believe are at the heart of being able to accomplish the things I've done. I discovered something I was feverishly passionate about, that I was talented at, and most importantly that I had support from the people in my life around me in pursuing. It would have been easy for my parents to just said no, for either the safety or improbability of activities like producing fusion in the garage or mixing up rocket fuel in the house, but because put a little faith in me and went out of their way to support me in these activities, I'm where I am today. This site is dedicated to them and all the scientists, teachers, technicians, machinists, and others who helped make my dreams a reality.

I am asked often how I was able to learn the multitude of fields required to accomplish nuclear fusion before I was 14 years old. The interconnectivity of the world since the adoption of the internet, with its vast repositories of information and the ability to be connected to experts across the globe was definitely part of it. The most important part of learning was and remains a passion for understanding not just the subject, but the world around us. Nothing was going to stop me from vacuuming up every last scrap of knowledge that I could get my hands on.

And that vacuum of curiosity has never stopped. Today I have a variety of scientific and engineering projects, many to refine into products the technologies I have developed that help solve problems we face as a society. Along with these commercial and engineering efforts, I still do plenty of basic and applied science work. In doing this basic science, I've learned to never underestimate the power of exploring the world around us to create innovations that make our lives transformationally better. In my mind at least, it's this curiosity, about the way the world works - and how it could work- that makes the most successful scientists and engineers.

Any free time I can find usually works it's way into exploring the history of science and technology, especially in the Atomic Age. And there's nothing like field work- so don't be surprised if you find I’m out in the desert searching for a lost nuclear weapon, or in the heart of an early nuclear reactor. This archeological hat has had some of the most profound impacts on my scientific and engineering work, I’ve found learning from the past to be a great way to discover the future - TW