Who is Mária Telkes, the scientist whose discoveries during World War II saved the lives of soldiers?
Mária Telkes, a Hungarian-American scientist who pioneered solar energy research, is being honoured with a Google Doodle. In her lifetime, she created a number of solar energy devices and received 20 patents, which is a significant accomplishment. She was born in Budapest on December 12th, 1900. In 1920, she began studying physical chemistry, and in 1924, she received her Ph.D. She began working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after immigrating to the US in 1925. Studying practical applications of solar energy was her main area of interest.
She created a process at MIT that uses sodium sulphates to store solar energy. In 1939, Mária Telkes transitioned to studying solar energy.
Mária contributed to American military operations as well by coming up with a number of fixes for the issues that allied forces encountered. Using the power of the sun, she created a system that could distill water, saving the lives of several soldiers. Additionally, she invented a machine that could evaporate seawater and then condense it to produce drinking water. She helped pioneer solar thermal storage technologies, earning the moniker “The Sun Queen.” She started teaching at MIT after the war.
She is also recognised for developing the world’s first solar-heated house. She had collaborated on this invention with Eleanor Raymond, a professional architect. The Ford Foundation awarded her a $45,000 grant for this.
In 1953, Mária invented a solar cooker. She also created a tiny solar still for desalination that can be used in lifeboats.
“Telkes’ inspiring career was filled with success and innovation. She was commissioned by the Ford Foundation and created a solar oven design that’s still used today. She also helped research solar energy at prestigious institutions such as NYU, Princeton University, and the University of Delaware. Telkes earned more than 20 patents and worked as a consultant for many energy companies. It’s no wonder she’s remembered as The Sun Queen,” Google wrote in a statement on December 12.
She died in 1995.