Child Genius of the Year

by twit

I’m still stunned by the brilliance of this young person, and by the potential magnitude of his innovation.  William Yuan is only twelve years old, but it appears that he has radically accelerated the development of solar energy technology.  Via Slashdot on September 18, 2008:

Hugh Pickens writes “12-year-old William Yuan’s invention of a highly-efficient, three-dimensional nanotube solar cell for visible and ultraviolet light has won him an award and a $25,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.

‘Current solar cells are flat and can only absorb visible light’” Yuan said. ‘I came up with an innovative solar cell that absorbs both visible and UV light. My project focused on finding the optimum solar cell to further increase the light absorption and efficiency and design a nanotube for light-electricity conversion efficiency.’

Solar panels with his 3D cells would provide 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than cutting-edge 3D solar cells. ‘My next step is to talk to manufacturers to see if they will build a working prototype,’ Yuan said. “If the design works in a real test stage, I want to find a company to manufacture and market it.””

Wired adds that the award “is usually given out for research at the graduate level.”  Congratulations to William, and thank you for giving us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

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breaking news: the sun is free

by twit

a solar furnace via kottke.org:

https://i2.wp.com/www.kottke.org/plus/misc/images/solar-furnace.jpg

A solar furnace is a structure used to harness the rays of the sun in order to produce high temperatures. This is achieved by using a curved mirror (or an array of mirrors) acting as a parabolic reflector to concentrate light (Insolation) on to a focal point. The temperature at the focal point may reach up to 3,000 degrees Celsius, and this heat can be used to generate electricity, melt steel or make hydrogen fuel.”

and an ancient legend to go with it:

“In the 3rd century BC, Archimedes allegedly used a mirror to burn up the entire Roman fleet during the siege of Syracuse:

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