Who is Maria Telkes?

Maria Telkes (December 12, 1900 – December 2, 1995) was a Hungarian-American biophysicist and inventor who worked on solar energy technologies. She is best known for her invention of the solar distiller and the first solar-powered heating system designed for residences. She also invented other devices capable of storing energy captured from sunlight.


Maria Telkes was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1900 to Aladar and Mária Laban de Telkes. Her grandfather, Simon Telkes, was from a Jewish family. In 1881, her father changed the family name to Telkes. In 1883, he converted to the Unitarian faith. According to sources, in 1907, he was elevated to the Hungarian nobility, with the prefix kelenföldi.

Mária attended elementary and high school in Budapest. She then studied physical chemistry at the Eötvös Loránd University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1920 and a doctorate in 1924.

Maria Telkes Net Worth, Biography, Age, Career and More

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Telkes died in Budapest in 1995 at the age of 94.

Personal Life

Maria Telkes was a private person and did not like to talk about her personal life.

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Telkes died in Budapest in 1995 at the age of 94. She is considered one of the most important figures in the history of solar energy.

Net Worth 

Maria Telkes’ net worth is not publicly known as of 2023. However, she was a successful scientist and inventor, and her work on solar energy has had a significant impact on the development of solar technologies. While she was alive, Maria had an estimated net worth of $1 billion dollars.

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Telkes was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1900. She studied physical chemistry at the University of Budapest, graduating with a B.A. in 1920 and a Ph.D. in 1924. In 1925, she moved to the United States to work as a biophysicist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. In 1937, she became an American citizen and joined the Solar Energy Conversion Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

At MIT, Telkes worked on developing solar-powered devices. In 1947, she invented the solar distiller, which uses sunlight to evaporate water and condense it into drinking water. She also developed the first solar-powered heating system for residences, which was installed in a house in Dover, Massachusetts, in 1948.

Telkes continued her research on solar energy at MIT until her retirement in 1966. She also served as a consultant to a number of companies and organizations, including the United Nations and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Telkes was a pioneer in the field of solar energy and her work has had a significant impact on the development of solar technologies. She was awarded numerous honors and awards for her work, including the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award in 1952 and the Charles Greely Abbot Award from the American Section of the International Solar Energy Society in 1977.

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