Maria Telkes, a Hungarian-American biophysicist, scientist, and inventor who worked on solar energy technologies, has been honored by Google. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ms. Telkes was born on December 12, 1900, in Budapest and is world famous for inventing the solar distiller and the first solar-powered heating system designed for residences. She also developed devices that could capture and store solar energy. She died on December 2, 1995, in Budapest, Hungary. Ms. Telkes was dubbed the “Sun Queen” for her pioneering work.
Ms. Maria Telkes has received up to 20 patents and invested in several breakthrough technologies throughout her career. Today’s Google doodle commemorates her 122nd birthday.
Ms. Maria Telkes’ photo appears in the animated doodle, with her solar experiment in the background. It demonstrates how solar energy is captured and utilized to power various gadgets in people’s houses.
— Google Doodles EN (@Doodle123_EN) December 11, 2022
As the sun sets, the homes continue to be illuminated by the solar energy captured by the gadgets, as depicted in the doodle.
Ms. Telkes grew up in Budapest. In her hometown, she studied physical chemistry, earning a BA in 1920 and a Ph.D. in 1924.
As a member of the Solar Energy Committee, Dr. Telkes continued her career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The US government asked her to assist in creating a solar distiller that turned seawater into freshwater during World War II. Soldiers stationed in the Pacific theatre used this life-saving invention.
In 1937, Ms. Telkes acceded to US citizenship. Until the end of her career, she kept creating solar energy applications. She created the first modern home heated by solar energy, built in Dover, Massachusetts, in 1948, along with American architect Eleanor Raymond.