“Queen of the Sun” on Google Doodle. Who was Mária Telkes?

"Queen of the Sun" on Google Doodle.  Who was Mária Telkes?

On December 12, Google celebrated another important figure. This time, the heroine of the Doodle is the physicist Mária Telkes, remembered as the “Queen of the Sun”. The woman was a pioneer of solar energy.

On Monday, Google changed its logo to a graphic related to Mária Telkes, also known as the “Queen of the Sun.” The latest Google Doodle commemorates the birth of the pioneering solar energy researcher, who would have been 122 years old today.

Hungarian scientist Mária Telkes is the heroine of Google Doodle

Mária Telkes was born on December 12, 1900, in Budapest. After studying physics and chemistry at the university in Warsaw and obtaining her doctorate, she moved to the USA in 1925. She found her place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where from 1939 she was involved in the practical use of solar energy.

During World War II, she was asked for help by the military. She invented a portable device for desalination of water using solar energy, which was used in survival kits for downed pilots and on the life rafts of warships. It saved the lives of many survivors and pilots during the Pacific War.

After the war ended, she returned to research at MIT. This time she worked on the design of a house heated only with solar energy. However, she proposed and created an unsuccessful concept, which led to the university authorities excluding her from the university’s solar energy committee.

However, this did not stop her for long, because in 1948, together with the architect Eleanor Raymond, she created the Dover Sun House, financed by philanthropists. This time, the house, heated only by sunlight, was a success and stayed warm even during the harsh Massachusetts winter. The women gave many interviews and promoted the term “solar energy”.

Inventions of Mária Telkes

The Dover Sun House is Telkes’ most famous invention, but the physicist also had many other ideas.

In 1953, the Ford Foundation offered her $45,000. grant dollars to develop a solar cooker that would work equally well in different latitudes. The woman took up the task, and her stove design is still used today.

Another application of solar energy was a device that allowed farmers to dry their crops more quickly. Interestingly, over time, the composites created for the farmers project later evolved under Telkes’ supervision into materials used in the Apollo and Polaris space missions.

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