From Space to Earth tracks the evolution of the technology of photovoltaics, the use of solar cells to convert the sun's energy into electricity. John Perlin's painstaking research results in a fascinating account of the development of this technology, from its shaky nineteenth-century beginnings mired in scientific controversy to its high-visibility success in the space program, to its current position as a versatile and promising power source.
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John Perlin is the critically acclaimed author of A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology (with Ken Butti).From Library Journal:
Perlin (A Forest Journey) accessibly recounts the history of photovoltaics (the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity by solar cells) from the early 19th century to the present. In the 19th century scientists speculated, from the excavations of Pompeii, that the Romans had discovered that when clear glass is exposed to the sun, it acts as a solar heat trap. Building on this knowledge and coupling it with experiments using selenium, they created the world's first photoelectric module. This versatile power source continued to be important throughout the years: in the 1950s, solar batteries began to power telephone lines, space projects, navigation aids, and more; today, scientists are developing photovoltaic-powered satellites to provide Internet access to the remotest parts of the world. The story of photovoltaics also includes those individuals such as the priest in Mali whose innovations using solar cells and water brought relief to his drought-stricken country. This is fascinating reading for the layperson and would be suitable for large public, academic, and technical libraries where technology and the history of technology are in demand.AEva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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