Google on Monday (December 12, 2022) celebrated ‘The Sun Queen’ Mária Telkes with a #GoogleDoodle whose pioneering achievements in solar technologies helped in paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future.
The doodle pays rich tribute to the life and innovative work of Dr Maria Telkes, one of the first pioneers of solar energy. Telkes was the first to receive The Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award on this day in 1952.
Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1900, Telkes studied physical chemistry at the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest. She graduated with a BA in 1920 and received her PhD in 1924. She then moved to the United States and accepted a position as a biophysicist. In 1937, she became a US citizen.
In 1948, after securing private funding from philanthropists, she created the Dover Sun House in partnership with architect Eleanor Raymond. The solar-heated home was a success and the women were featured in the media, popularizing the term ‘solar energy’ among the public.
Google Doodle Remembers Maria Telkes and her achievements in Solar Technologies
Dr Maria Telkes is an inspiration – Google Doodle
“Dr. 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,” Google said.
Telkes also helped research solar energy at prestigious institutions such as NYU, Princeton University, and the University of Delaware.
She 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 said.
In 1971 Maria Telkes helped to build the first house to generate both heat and electricity from the sun. In 1981 she helped the US Department of Energy to develop and build the first fully solar-powered home, Carlisle House in Carlisle, Massachusetts.
During World War II, the US government recruited Telkes to develop a solar-powered water desalination machine — a lifesaving invention that allowed soldiers to have safe drinking water in situations where access was difficult or non-existent. After the war, she returned to MIT, becoming an associate research professor in 1945.
While at MIT, she designed a solar heating system for the Dover Sun House, the first livable building ever heated entirely by the sun. She went on to work at New York University, where she developed a solar-powered oven still in use today that allows people who lack access to electricity to prepare warm meals.
In 1952, Maria Telkes was the first recipient of the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award. In 2012, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Telkes died in 1995 at the age of 94 while making her first visit to her hometown of Budapest since moving to the US seven decades earlier.