A Wyoming teenager built a nuclear reactor to fulfill his dream of entering the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, but was disqualified for entering too many other fairs in the wrong order.
18-year-old Conrad Farnsworth is one of only about 15 students to ever build a nuclear reactor. He built it in his father's garage from parts he was able to order online, and other parts he traded for.
Rules of the Intel competition allow students to participate in just one regional science fair followed by one statewide or larger event to qualify. But Farnsworth and other students from Newcastle High School start with the University of Wyoming statewide event and then go on to compete in a regional competition held in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Farnsworth entered both events, qualifying for the Intel event during the South Dakota competition. Newcastle High, just a few miles from the South Dakota border, has been sending students to both competitions for years, but this is the first time a student qualified for the Intel fair. None of Farnsworth's teachers knew the rule limiting qualifying events.
Fair director Annie Bergman reported Farnsworth, and disqualified the teen from the international competition. Her contract was not renewed by the University of Wyoming, who sponsored the event, after officials decided she had acted outside her authority.
Farnsworth graduated high school this year, and will attend the South Dakota School of Mines.