HomeNewsGoogle Doodle Pays Tribute to Mária Telkes — "The Sun Queen"

Google Doodle Pays Tribute to Mária Telkes — “The Sun Queen”


Google has created a doodle in honor of Hungarian-American scientist and biophysicist Mária Telkes. Maria Telkes was born on December 12, 1900, and died on December 2, 1995, at the age of 95. She moved to the United States after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Budapest in 1924. Mária Telkes invented a number of solar devices that were useful to the general public. Telkes was dubbed “The Sun Queen” for her contributions to the solar thermal storage system.

Google Created a Doodle For Mária Telkes

On the occasion of the 122nd birth anniversary of Mária Telkes Google created a doodle. Ms Telkes’ photo appears in the animated doodle, with her solar experiment in the background. It demonstrates how solar energy is captured and used to power various gadgets in people’s homes. As the sun sets, the homes continue to be illuminated by the solar energy captured by the gadgets, as depicted in the doodle.

Who was Mária Telkes?

Mária Telkes was born on December 12, 1900, in Budapest, Hungary, and received a thorough education in the sciences, including a PhD from the University of Budapest in 1924. Telkes visited a relative in the United States later that year and decided to immigrate there soon after.

Mária Telkes: Early Life & Career 

Mária Telkes’ early career was spent researching biophysics, specifically the energy produced by living things. Soon after, her interests shifted to finding ways to convert heat into energy, and she eventually joined the newly formed MIT solar energy research group in 1939.

During World War 2, Mária Telkes was hired by the US government’s Office of Scientific Research and Development for her expertise in solar energy and innovative ideas for the burgeoning technology. During this time, she created one of her most famous inventions, a solar-powered distiller capable of cleaning water for use in medical procedures or making seawater drinkable for soldiers lost at sea.

Mária Telkes: Achievements

Ms Telkes has received up to 20 patents and invested in several breakthrough technologies over the course of her career. Ms Telkes became a citizen of the United States in 1937. She worked on solar energy applications until the end of her career. In 1948, she designed and built the world’s first modern residence heated by solar energy in Dover, Massachusetts, with American architect Eleanor Raymond.

The resulting solar oven was extremely efficient and safe enough for children to learn to cook with. Telkes even modified the solar oven design so that farmers could use it to dry their crops. Telkes’ solar oven design is still in use today due to its affordability and ease of use in remote locations.

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All of these solar energy innovations (and many more) earned Mária Telkes the moniker “The Sun Queen.” As for why Google chose today to honor the renowned scientist, Mária Telkes was chosen as the first ever recipient of the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award on December 12, 1952 — 70 years ago today.

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