|Born||12 December 1900|
|Died||2 December 1995(aged 94)|
|Awards||National Inventors Hall of Fame|
|Institutions||Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Westinghouse, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, University of Delaware|
Early life and education
Telkes worked as a biophysicist in the United States; and, from 1939 to 1953, she was involved in solar energy research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Telkes is known for creating the first thermoelectric power generator in 1947, designing the first solar heating system for the Dover Sun House in Dover, Massachusetts, (built entirely with solar heating, with the architect Eleanor Raymond and the first thermoelectric refrigerator in 1953 using the principles of semiconductor thermoelectricity.
She was a prolific inventor of practical thermal devices, including a miniature desalination unit for use on lifeboats, which used solar power and condensation to collect potable solar still. The still saved the lives of airman and sailors who would have been without water when abandoned at sea.
One of her specialties were phase-change materials, including molten salts to store thermal energy. She lectured widely in a rather pronounced Hungarian accent. One of her materials of choice was Glauber's salt. After a lecture in Texas, a student came up to her, intrigued and asked, "Where can I get some of your global salts?"
Telkes is considered one of the founders of solar thermal storage systems, earning her the nickname, "sun queen". She moved to Texas in the 1970s and consulted with a variety of start-up solar companies, including Northrup Solar, which subsequently became ARCO Solar, and eventually BP Solar.
- 1952 Society of Women Engineers Award
- 1977 American Solar Energy Society - Charles Greeley Abbot Award
- 2012 National Inventors Hall of Fame induction
- "Maria Telkes Resources". solarhousehistory.com.