Net Worth People

Who Is Maria Telkes? All You Must Know About Hungarian-American Inventor

Maria Telkes immigrated from Hungary to the United States, where she worked as a biophysicist and inventor of solar energy systems.

Key Facts About Maria Telkes

  • She worked on solar electricity as a biophysicist and inventor.
  • She was half Hungarian and half American.
  • Her birthday is December 12, 1900.
  • She passed away on December 2, 1995.
  • She was Aladar and Maria Laban de Telkes’s daughter.
  • She attended Eotvos Lorand University.
  • She did not have a husband.
  • She never had any children.
  • She had a total worth of $10 million.

Who is Maria Telkes?

Maria Telkes immigrated from Hungary to the United States, where she worked as a biophysicist and inventor of solar energy systems. After completing her biophysics degree in 1925, she relocated to the United States to pursue her artistic career. In 1937 she was naturalised as an American citizen, and in 1939 she began her studies in painting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop solar energy’s practical applications. She was born on December 12, 1900, and died on December 2, 1995.

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Maria Telkes, widely referred to as “The Sun Queen” by her peers, is widely credited as a pioneer in solar thermal garages. She developed a sun distillation device to save the lives of airmen shot down or sailors sunk by enemy submarines during World War II, and she used it from the conflict’s beginning. She hopes her example will inspire people living in poor, dry areas to improve their circumstances. After the war, she went to MIT to teach partner studies.

Dover Sun House was one of the first solar-heated homes, built in the 1940s with the help of Eleanor Raymond. For kids worldwide, a sun oven was constructed in 1953. Maria Telkes was the first woman ever to receive the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award, which she received in 1952. In 1977, the National Academy of Sciences Building Research Advisory Board honoured her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She filed for and was granted over twenty truly groundbreaking patents.

Maria Telkes Early Life

Maria Telkes was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1900. She is the daughter of Aladar and Maria Laban de Telkes; she has Jewish ancestry through her grandfather Simon Telkes.

Maria Telkes Education

Maria Telkes completed both her elementary and secondary education in Budapest. Subsequently, she attended Eotvos Lorand University, earning a bachelor’s degree. She got her doctorate in physical chemistry in 1920 and her PhD in 1924.

Maria Telkes Career

Maria Telkes went to Cleveland, Ohio, to see a relative serving as the Hungarian consul there shortly after arriving in the United States in 1924. Her Cleveland-based clinic foundation hired her to investigate the energy sources used by living things. She worked for the Foundation, where she researched and developed a photoelectric mechanism to record brain waves under the tutelage of George Washington Crile. The Phenomena of Life was a book they wrote together. After that, Maria Telkes became a physicist for Westinghouse. To improve the efficiency of thermocouples, she created a new metal alloy. She communicated with MIT about forming a new solar energy initiative. She started working there in 1939 and stayed until 1953.

During World War II, the United States government recognised Maria Telkes’s qualifications and hired her as a civilian advisor to the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). In that location, she worked on and finished a prototype of a solar-powered water desalination machine in 1942. As a result of its usefulness in addressing the water crisis in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the need for clean water among our armed forces, this invention quickly rose to the ranks of her most celebrated works of engineering. However, due to Hoyt C. Hottel’s constant renegotiation of its manufacturing contracts, its initial deployment was put off until the war’s end. When asked about architects’ challenges when creating a solar-heated home that works, Maria Telkes said that heat storage was the biggest issue. When she was at her best, she was an expert on phase-change materials, which can either store or release heat during their transformation from solid to liquid. She had hoped that active heating systems could benefit from using phase-change materials, such as molten salts, from storing thermal energy. The salt produced by Glauber was one of her preferred raw materials.

Maria Telkes began construction on the Dover Sun House in 1948. She collaborated on the project with architect Eleanor Raymond, and benefactor/sculptor Amelia Peabody provided funding. System components were developed to facilitate the solar melting of Glauber’s salt, with the salt acting as a heat sink and releasing its stored energy as it cooled and solidified. The system could function because the sun could penetrate the glass windows and warm the air inside. This hot air escapes through the opening of the metal plate. From there, a fan blew air into a salt storage area. These sections, installed between the walls, helped keep the house toasty while the salt cooled it.

The first two years she was there, the house was trendy. Scientists and the public hailed it as a significant scientific breakthrough, if not more important than the atomic bomb. The issue with Glauber’s salt began in the third winter. A layer of solids formed on the liquid, and the container was rusting and dripping. The owner took out the home’s previous solar heating system and opted to heat the building with oil instead. George Russell Harrison, the dean of science at MIT in 1953, was concerned about the institute’s lack of productivity, and he subsequently requested a review of the institute’s solar fund. The final report favoured Hottel’s perspective while marginalising those of Cabot and Telkes. Maria Telkes claimed he was let go after the news of his dismissal became public.

Maria Telkes started working in the University of Delaware’s Energy Conversion Laboratory in 1969. She embarked on a career in solar-cell-based electricity generation. She gave the keynote address at the first international conference of women engineers and scientists in New York in 1964. It was in 1971 that she was a part of the team that constructed the first solar-powered home. She collaborated with the United States Department of Energy in 1981 to create the first all-female solar home, the Carlisle House, located in Carlisle, Massachusetts.

Maria Telkes Parents

Maria Telkes was born to Aladar and Maria Laban de Telkes and named after her mother.

Maria Telkes Siblings

Maria Telkes has two sisters: Agota Somogyi and Terezia Godány. Even though she supposedly had seven brothers and sisters.

Maria Telkes Ethnicity

Maria Telkes was a citizen of both the United States and Hungary.

Maria Telkes Religion

Maria Telkes’ religious affiliation is unknown at this time.

Maria Telkes Husband

Maria Telkes did not have a partner at the time.

Maria Telkes Children

Maria Telkese did not have any children of her own.

Maria Telkes Social Media

Even though she passed away before the advent of social media, a quick Google search will yield a wealth of information about her.

Maria Telkes Net Worth

Maria Telkes’s net worth was estimated to be ten million dollars.