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Reworded: The story of Mária Telkes, the pioneer of solar power known as the "sun queen", as told by Weatherwatch.
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Reworded: The story of Mária Telkes, the pioneer of solar power known as the “sun queen”, as told by Weatherwatch.

Many American airmen and sailors were left stranded on life rafts in the Pacific during World War II and unfortunately died from dehydration before being rescued.

Mária Telkes, a biophysicist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was recruited to devise a method for preventing dehydration and ultimately preserving the lives of servicemen.

The scientist from Hungary and America achieved this by creating a balloon-shaped emergency desalination tool that utilized the sun’s warmth to turn seawater into potable water through evaporation and condensation.

Following the war, she furthered her concepts on utilizing solar thermal energy and in 1948, she led the way in creating the world’s first fully solar-powered residence: the Dover Sun House in Massachusetts.

The residence utilized tall windows measuring 10 feet (3 meters) in height to capture sunlight and utilize it to melt sodium sulfate, which stored the thermal energy.

During the process of cooling and solidifying, the salt emitted heat which was then utilized to warm the air in a two-bedroom house for about 10 days during cold temperatures.

In 1953, she created a convenient solar oven that could cook food in remote locations, with the ability to reach temperatures of up to 200C.

Telkes, who lived from 1900 to 1995, earned the nickname “sun queen” for her numerous patents related to solar energy throughout her career.

Source: theguardian.com