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The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star Audiobook, by Tom Clynes Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Tom Clynes Narrator: P. J. Ochlan Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2015 ISBN: 9781504640077
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This is the story of how an American teenager became the youngest person ever to build a working nuclear fusion reactor.

By the age of nine, Taylor Wilson had mastered the science of rocket propulsion. At eleven, his grandmother’s cancer diagnosis drove him to investigate new ways to produce medical isotopes. And by fourteen, Wilson had built a 500-million-degree reactor and become the youngest person in history to achieve nuclear fusion. How could someone so young achieve so much, and what can Wilson’s story teach parents and teachers about how to support high-achieving kids?

In The Boy Who Played with Fusion, science journalist Tom Clynes narrates Taylor’s extraordinary journey—from his Arkansas home where his parents fully supported his intellectual passions; to a unique Reno, Nevada, public high school just for academic superstars; to the present, when now nineteen-year-old Wilson is winning international science competitions with devices designed to prevent terrorists from shipping radioactive material into the country. Along the way, Clynes reveals how our education system shortchanges gifted students—and what we can do to fix it.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Here is the amazing story of an unbelievable boy—somebody who seems more like a figure out of fiction (science fiction, to be specific) than reality. But the story is true, the boy is true, and the science is true. And the world that opens up to us through his story is both fascinating and slightly terrifying…but in a good way. You won’t be able to walk away from this tale.”

    Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Clynes guides us on an engrossing journey to the outer realms of science and parenting. The Boy Who Played with Fusion is a fascinating exploration of ‘giftedness’ and all its consequences.”

    Paul Greenberg, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Clynes makes a persuasive case for allowing gifted children the freedom and resources to pursue their interests.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Imagine if cartoon whiz-kid Jimmy Neutron were real and had a brainchild with MacGyver and his adolescence got told as a rollicking bildungsroman about American prodigies and DIY nuclear reactors—well, that’s this book.”

    Jack Hitt, author of Bunch of Amateurs

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month in Memoir/Biography for June 2015
  • A November 2015 Library Journal bestseller in Physics
  • A 2016 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Shortlist Selection

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About the Author

Tom Clynes is a writer and photographer who covers the adventurous side of science, the environment, and education. He has reported on Ebola outbreaks and eco-mercenaries in central Africa, climatologists working in Greenland, and arsenic-loving microbes in California’s Mono Lake. He was a contributing editor at National Geographic Adventure for over a decade and now regularly writes for National Geographic, Men’s Journal, and Popular Science, where he is a contributing editor. He has also contributed to GQ, Conservation magazine, the Guardian, the London Times, Bicycling, Backpacker, and the Washington Post. His magazine stories have appeared multiple times in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Travel Writing. He is also a Knight-Wallace Fellow in journalism , an International Reporting Project fellow, and a two-time recipient of the Lowell Thomas Award. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Brookline, Vermont.

About the Narrator

P. J. Ochlan is an Audie Award–winning, multiple Earphones Award–winning, and Voice Arts Award–nominated narrator of hundreds of audiobooks. His acting career spans more than thirty years and has also included Broadway, the NY Shakespeare Festival under Joseph Papp, critically acclaimed feature films, and television series regular roles.