Google Doodle pays tribute to Mária Telkes, pioneer of solar energy
Mária Telkes was a Hungarian-born American scientist whose pioneering work in the field of solar energy spawned many inventions, including the first solar-powered house, earning her the nickname “Queen of the Sun”. .
For his contributions to science, Google on Monday dedicated an animated Doodle to Telkes on his 122nd birthday. The Doodle shows some of the ways we can harness solar energy, including his inventions for the solar cooker, solar heating system, and a solar-powered desalination unit to make seawater safe to drink.
Born in Budapest on December 12, 1900, Telkes received a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Budapest before moving to the United States in 1924 to work as a biophysicist at Westinghouse, where she worked on metal alloys to help to convert heat into electricity. In 1939, she went to work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she joined the university’s solar energy conversion project.
During World War II, the U.S. government recruited Telkes to develop a solar-powered water desalination machine – a lifesaving invention that provided soldiers with clean drinking water in difficult-to-access situations. or non-existent. After the war, she returned to MIT, becoming an associate research professor at MIT in 1945.
At MIT, she designed a solar heating system for the Dover Sun House, the first habitable building ever heated entirely by the sun. She then worked at New York University, where she developed a solar-powered oven still in use today that allows people without access to electricity to prepare hot meals.
In 1952 she was the first recipient of the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award, and in 2012 she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Telkes died in 1995 at the age of 94 on her first visit to her hometown of Budapest since moving to the United States 70 years earlier.