Who was Mária Telkes, the solar energy Sun Queen?

Who was Mária Telkes, the solar energy Sun Queen?

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Mária Telkes, solar energy pioneer

Mária Telkes, a photo voltaic vitality pioneer. The Hungarian-American biophysicist and inventor Mária Telkes pioneered photo voltaic vitality by inventing a photo voltaic oven, a photo voltaic desalination package and, within the late Nineteen Forties, she helped design one of many first solar-heated homes.

Mária Telkes, born on December 12, 1900, in Budapest, Hungary, emerged as a photo voltaic vitality pioneer lengthy earlier than the world would flip to renewable vitality. She invented a photo voltaic oven, a photo voltaic desalination package and, within the late Nineteen Forties, she helped design one of many first solar-heated homes. She is named the Sun Queen.

Telkes, who got here from a Jewish household that transformed to Christianity, studied on the University of Budapest after which later in Switzerland on the University of Geneva the place she mastered chemistry and physics, and earned a Ph.D. in 1924.

In 1925, whereas visiting her uncle in Cleveland, USA, she labored alongside the famend surgeon George Washington Crile who carried out the primary profitable blood transfusion.

Telkes devoted the following 12 years of her life to researching the vitality modifications cells bear throughout dying or most cancers, ensuing within the publication of their findings in a collaborative guide.

Upon turning into an American in 1937, Telkes joined Westinghouse Electric, the place her focus shifted in direction of photo voltaic vitality in 1939 upon turning into a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Solar Energy Conversion challenge.

As the world grappled with the Second World War, Telkes was enlisted by the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), which labored on the Manhattan Project. Her process was to leverage photo voltaic vitality to remodel salty water into drinkable water, addressing the essential difficulty of dehydration confronted by troopers at sea.

Maria Telkes invention so soldiers could drink water at sea

Maria Telkes photo voltaic vitality invention so troopers may drink water at sea

In response, Telkes invented the primary photo voltaic water distillation machine, able to producing one liter of drinkable water per day utilizing seawater. This innovation shortly grew to become a normal part in each soldier’s pack, incomes her a advantage from OSRD for her invaluable contribution.

Maria Telkes saltwater sea solar energy paper

Maria Telkes dscribed the science of photo voltaic desalination on this paper from 1953

However, Telkes’ most famed invention was the creation of the primary photo voltaic home in 1948, the Dover Sun House, close to Boston, designed by Eleanor Raymond and examined by the Némethy household, Telkes’ family members.

Maria Telkes and the Dover Sun House image

Maria Telkes and the Dover Sun House. The giant home windows confronted the solar and picked up warmth and saved the vitality in salts. Dover Sun House was one of many world’s first solar-heated homes. It was designed by architect Eleanor Raymond and had a heating system developed by physicist Mária Telkes. Client Amelia Peabody made it noteworthy for being “completely a female challenge.”

To sort out the problem of storing photo voltaic vitality to be used on cloudy days, Telkes ingeniously employed a glauber salt answer (natrium sulfuricium) with a low melting level (32 °C) and excessive enthalpy of fusion, able to storing photo voltaic vitality for as much as ten days.

Maria Telkes and the Dover Sun House Maria Telkes and the Dover Sun House image

Despite preliminary challenges – the unusually chilly winter of 1948 and subsequent leakage within the answer tanks in 1953 – the photo voltaic home laid the groundwork for the acceptance of photo voltaic vitality as a viable heating supply.

Maria Telkes outside the Dover Sun House

“It was a proof of premise, a radical concept for her to be considering that broadly and to assume that far forward and really create a habitable home as an experiment,” says Andrew Nemethy, who was a boy who lived within the Dover Sun House rising up. “She wanted astronauts, and I assume we had been the fortunate ones,” he mentioned in a PBS documentary.

This marked a big shift, contemplating that sustainable improvement was not but a acknowledged time period. People started incorporating photo voltaic panels into home designs, usually complemented by conventional heating methods in areas with inadequate sunny days.

The Dover Sun House was demolished in 2010. A PBS documentary explores the contribution of Telkers and the Dover Sun House that will be heated solely by the solar in a New England winter.

Inside the Dover Sun House. Gauber salts stored and released heat from the windows.

Maria Telkes outside the Dover Sun House

Maria Telkes exterior the Dover Sun House within the PBS documentary in regards to the Dover Sun House.

Telkes obtained the Society of Women Engineers Award in 1952, incomes the moniker “The Sun Queen” within the United States.

In 1953, when Telkes was at New York University, she obtained a Ford Foundation grant to develop a photo voltaic range that may very well be utilized in creating nations. Like the designs earlier, she took a easy method.

The range was constructed as an insulated metallic field geared up with doorways on each ends, topped with glass over the meals placement space. Harnessing the solar’s rays, the glass amplified their depth, aided by 4 metallic plates strategically angled at 60 levels.

Maria Telkes solar cooker

Diagram of Maria Telkes photo voltaic cooker

Triangular mirrors positioned between the plates additional enhanced the amplification of photo voltaic wavelengths. Remarkably, the range may attain temperatures of 400 levels, requiring no specialised supplies for its development and boasting an inexpensive price ticket of merely 4 {dollars}.

Maria Telkes and her solar cooker invention

Dr. Maria Telkes, “world’s most well-known girl inventor in photo voltaic vitality,” speaks with Dr. J.E. Hobson (left) and Thomas Ok. Hitch.

Its user-friendly design (you can download the instructions here) discovered a welcoming market in midcentury India, exactly the tropical local weather its inventor had envisioned. Telkes enthusiastically praised its deserves to a reporter throughout a cooking demonstration, expressing, “Everything appears to style so a lot better when it’s cooked by the solar.”

In 1977, the American Solar Energy Society honored her with the Charles Greeley Abbot Award. At the age of 90 in 1990, Telkes submitted her final invention, leaving an indelible mark on the sphere.

Returning to her hometown, Budapest, after 70 years, Telkes handed away on December 2, 1995, on the age of 94. In recognition of her unparalleled contributions, she was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2012, alongside physicist Dénes Gábor.

Mária Telkes’ legacy endures as an inspiration for future innovators and a testomony to the transformative energy of photo voltaic vitality in shaping a sustainable future.