Now, I am reticent to believe this article as being true for two reasons: One being coincidental and the other pop-cultural. On one hand, the last name is well known in the scientific community for contributions to nuclear research in the 50s/60s. On the other hand, the last name is well known in the pop culture community for being the absent-minded professor slash source of a running gag.
I’ll save my predictions for futherdown.
NEWCASTLE – Most people give directions with streets and numbers. Conrad Farnsworth gives GPS coordinates and satellite imaging maps…
“This is my Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion Reactor. It works on the property of inertial electrostatic confinement,” Conrad says.
Conrad, 18, talks fast — faster when he’s explaining this machine, a project he started at 16. Its plasma heart rises to a temperature of 600 million degrees. It glows bright blue and purple. It strips gas out of its outer electron shell.
Conrad is the first person in Wyoming, and one of about 60 in the world, to achieve nuclear fusion. Only about 15 of those are in high school.
He stumbled onto the idea in seventh grade. Fusion sounded fascinating, and the father of fusion, Philo T. Farnsworth, shared his last name.
Now, I love the fact that some kid out there is going to dedicating his brains to applied energy science. I do. But it concerns me that his last name is Farnsworth. Not because of the irony as implicated by Matt Groening’s Futurama, but because of the result of that shows existence and the possible impact it will have on this man’s life.
I can also make allusions to Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory – the co-relations can be made easily there too. Genius kid from a mid-west(ish) state, makes a nuclear device in a shed; earlier efforts involved modifying items around the house and a father that owns a truck — which, I will admit, in BBT was never specified as being vintage or not.
However, Conrad does have a tendency to use science towards destructive ends. I’m now thinking of him as a combination of Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper — reference towards the episode that explains the non-functioning elevator, where bad math and timing lead to a large explosion.
Conrad’s only saving grace thus far? Not trying to start a delivery company – planetary or otherwise. Oh yeah, and blowing up only a garbage can and not a perfectly good mode of vertical transportation. Sharing the same last name as the “father of fusion” may save this man’s reputation after he gets accepted into a prestigious university.
While I am not a psychic, nor do I believe in such things, there is a certain power to making statements and seeing them come true, regardless of whether they were made in jest or not. I see four potential outcomes for this young man.
- Going to M.I.T or Cal-Tech
- After acquiring B.Sc/M.Sc/PhD, going to work at CERN and,
- Helping build super huge robots for the purpose of beating up giant aliens (or GodZilla)
- or creating a large crater where Newcastle, Wyoming used to be.
Let’s hope for the sake of progress that it’s not the fourth possibility.
Parting thoughts… or quotes to ponder: