The Banshee is a 3-ounce rubberized acoustic grenade inspired by the notorious 1993 riots in Mogadishu. It disperses unruly crowds with an ear-piercing 130-decibel squeal, and is just one of countless ideas percolating inside the brain of Fariborz Bzorgi, a senior staff engineer at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
It takes four months of hoop-jumping to get in to Y-12, to get to Bzorgi, one of the most prolific engineers at Y-12’s National Prototype Center. This is invention central for 2,500 scientists and craftsmen who create one-of-a-kind products for government and industry, including the Apollo mission moonbox and the Seawolf submarine propulsion system. “Bzorgi is one of the few guys who gets to dream stuff up on his own,” says Y-12’s Mike Monnett.