Google Doodle Maria Telkes: Who was Sun Queen Dr. Mária Telkes?

Maria Telkes was a Hungarian-American scientist, who was a pioneer in the field of solar energy.
Google Doodle Maria Telkes: Who was  Sun Queen Dr. Mária Telkes?

Maria Telkes was a Hungarian-American scientist, who was a pioneer in the field of solar energy. Today, on December 12th, Google has dedicated a Doodle to her memory. Not only did she invent various solar energy systems, but she also received twenty patents for them during her lifetime. Here’s more about her. 

Who Was Mária Telkes

She was born on December 12, 1900, in Budapest. In 1920, she enrolled in graduate school to study Physical Chemistry, and by 1924, she had obtained her doctorate. In 1925, she arrived in the United States and went to work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

The title “Sun Queen” truly suits her because she was very passionate about researching Solar Energy and discovering real-world applications of it. She figured out how to use sodium sulphates to store energy from the sun while she was a student at MIT. 

She is mainly remembered for playing a pivotal role during World War II. Her contributions  proved crucial to American military operations, as she devised methods to address issues faced by allied troops. Several soldiers' lives were spared because of a contraption she invented that distilled water solely by using the power of the sun. She also developed a system to distil freshwater from saltwater by evaporation and condensation. 

The Sun Queen got her moniker because she was a pioneer in the field of solar thermal storage. She is also recognised as the creator of the first solar-heated home. She had collaborated on this innovation with Eleanor Raymond, an architect, for which she was awarded $45,000 by the Ford Foundation. 

In 1953, she also created a solar oven. Her solar oven concept is still in use today thanks to a contract from the Ford Foundation. She has also participated in studies on solar energy at illustrious universities like New York University, Princeton, and the University of Delaware.

In 1952, she became the first recipient of what is now known as "the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award." The SWE award is a prestigious honour given to women who have made significant contributions to engineering.

She became an associate research professor at MIT after the war, and she and her team worked on designing a design for solar-heated homes, but they were eventually disbanded when it proved to be untenable. With the help of architect Eleanor Raymond, Dr. Telkes was able to acquire private finance for the Dover Sun House in 1948. Due to the project's success, the term "solar energy" came into common parlance. She has been a consultant for a wide range of energy firms and possesses more than 20 patents in the field.

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