Maria Telkes was a scientist and an inventor. She studied physical chemistry. Telkes learned that heat from sunlight could be used as energy. Energy from the heat of the Sun is called solar energy. Solar energy can be used to heat buildings and to make electricity. Maria Telkes spent her career creating things that used solar energy.
Maria Telkes worked for an electric company. She made things that converted heat into electricity. Then she began to research solar energy. One of her most important inventions was called a solar still. Solar stills use heat from the Sun to make sea water drinkable. Solar stills were carried on lifeboats. Solar stills saved the lives of sailors who were without fresh water while stranded at sea. Maria Telkes also helped design and construct the first solar home. It was the first modern home that could be heated by the Sun! Telkes earned the nickname “the Sun Queen.” Maria Telkes invented many solar-powered devices in her career. She received many honors and awards for the advancements she made in solar energy technologies.
What Do You Think? Maria Telkes invented solar ovens, too. Why would someone need a solar oven? Ask an adult to help you research solar ovens.
Photo Credit: (t)Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-113268, (b)yanishevska/Shutterstock