Google honours Hungarian scientist Maria Telkes or ‘Sun Queen’ on her birth anniversary

Dr. Telkes was the first to receive The Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award on this day in 1952

Updated - December 12, 2022 11:18 am IST

Published - December 12, 2022 09:44 am IST

Google Doodle pays tribute to Dr. Maria Telkes, one of the first pioneers of solar energy, on her birth anniversary. | Credit: Screengrab/

Google Doodle pays tribute to Dr. Maria Telkes, one of the first pioneers of solar energy, on her birth anniversary. | Credit: Screengrab/

Google on December 12. 2022, paid tribute to Hungarian-American scientist and biophysicist Dr. Maria Telkes, one of the pioneers of solar energy who was called the ‘Sun Queen’ for her contribution on solar thermal storage system.

Google has depicted a Doodle dedicated to Dr. Telkes, celebrating her  122nd birth anniversary.

Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1900, Dr. Telkes studied physical chemistry at the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest. She graduated with a B.A. in 1920 and received her PhD in 1924.

An advocate of putting the sun’s energy to use, she was one of the first researchers to do so in an experimental residence.

She came to the United States in 1925 and stayed back when the Cleveland Clinic Foundation hired her as a biophysicist.

Dr. Telkes became an American citizen in 1937 and was a part of the Solar Energy Committee at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was also invited by the U.S. government to develop a solar salt-water still for the Navy in World War II, which saved the lives of torpedoed sailors and downed airmen. She spent many years experimenting with stoves that used solar energy for their heat and were cheap enough to be used by the poor. 

In the 1940s, she teamed with architect Eleanor Raymond to build the first solar-heated home - the Dover Sun House. The project’s success was widely acknowledged and popularised the term “solar energy’‘.

She was commissioned by the Ford Foundation and created a solar oven design that’s still used today. She also helped research solar energy at prestigious institutions such as NYU, Princeton University, and the University of Delaware. Dr. Telkes earned more than 20 patents and worked as a consultant for many energy companies. 

Google, giving details on her doodle, mentioned that on this day, Dr. Telkes was the first to be awarded ‘the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award’ in 1952.

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