(born May 7, 1994) is an American nuclear scientist who was noted in 2008 for being the youngest person in the world (at age 14) to build a working nuclear fusion reactor. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Energy offered federal funding to Wilson concerning research Wilson has conducted in building inexpensive Cherenkov radiation detectors; Wilson has declined on an interim basis due to pending patent issues. Traditional Cherenkov detectors usually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (USD), while Wilson invented a working detector that cost a few hundred dollars. In May 2011, Wilson entered his radiation detector in the Intel Intefnational Science and Engineering Fair against a field of 1,500 competitors and won a $50,000 award. The project was entitled "Countering Nuclear Terrorism: Novel Active and Passive Techniques for Detecting Nuclear Threats" and won the First Place Award in the Physics and Astronomy Category, Best of Category Award, and the Intel Young Scientist Award. Wilson stated he hopes to test and rapidly field the devices to U.S. ports for counterterrorism purposes.
According to Wilson, he is currently attending the University of Nevada, Reno and the Davidson Academy of Nevada. He lives in Reno, Nevada.
In June 2012, Wilson was awarded the Thiel Fellowship. The two-year $100,000 fellowship would require him to drop out of college for the duration of the fellowship.