Teen Builds Nuclear Reactor, Booted From Science Fair

... on a technicality

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 1, 2013 11:25 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Wyoming's Conrad Farnsworth has done something maybe 60 people around the world have managed to do: achieve nuclear fusion. Which is to say, he built a nuclear reactor in his father's garage, reports the Casper Star-Tribune. Not bad for a high school student, though his feat is actually old news. The new news is that the 18-year-old got disqualified from an international high school science competition this month because of an obscure technicality.

As the Star-Tribune explains, Farnsworth competed in two state fairs—one in Wyoming and the other in neighboring South Dakota—to try to qualify for Intel's annual competition in Arizona. (That's one too many, according to the rules, which neither Farnsworth nor his teachers were aware of.) So while Farnsworth did indeed make it to Arizona, the director of his own state's science fair informed officials there of the horrible misdeed. He got disqualified before getting a chance to make his demonstration. Which means no prize for the reactor-building student. And, incidentally, no renewed contract for that Wyoming science fair director.

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