Category Archives: Did You Know?

Thomas Edison Ponders Where the Moon Came From

Recent geochemical studies show that the chemical composition of the Moon is very similar to that of the Earth—that is, the Moon is made up primarily of terrestrial materials rather than materials from the impacting celestial body. The Earth and Moon are like identical twins. No other celestial bodies we know of share this kind of chemical relationship.

In a recent TED talk, Planetary Scientist Sarah T. Stewart discusses how she discovered new kind of astronomical object — a synestia — which presents a new way to look at the mystery of the Moon’s origin.

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Thomas Edison Smiles at the Solar-Hydrogen Connection

Let’s cut to the chase. Suppose you had a device that could make electricity and hydrogen at the same time? Think this might be valuable for the renewable technologies marketplace?

For at least 40 years, the solar-hydrogen connection has been a goal for transitioning from a carbon-based energy economy. Many different concepts and systems have been discussed and prototyped to demonstrate this possibility.

Now, the very capable folks at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab [LBL] have some bragging rights with this technology, having developed a hybrid device. Thy have a novel integration of photovoltaic and electrochemical devices, that could simultaneously meet real-time energy demand while producing hydrogen too.

According to public literature…..”LBL’s patent-pending design is a single hybrid photoelectrochemical and voltaic (HPEV) cell. The HPEV makes dual use of its photon-excited electrons and thus maximizes its overall efficiency, much as cogeneration power plants achieve high fuel efficiency by squeezing both heat and power from natural gas or coal.” 

It is expected the hybrid cell performance will result in almost 7% of incoming sunlight converted to hydrogen; and 13% of that same light converted into electricity. 

Think of the possibilities with making a very clean fuel form and electricity simultaneously. One could serve local electric loads and fuel needs, or maybe shipping the fuel form through an underground piping system…either existing or new.

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison said … “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
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2019 Pitch Contest Deadline Extended

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Due to pending weather conditions on the East Coast, the video submission deadline for the Thomas Edison Pitch Contest 2019 has been extended! Please be sure to have your video submission in by February 28, 2019 to be eligible to receive your FREE Makers Kit (value $200) and your $300 Teacher/Mentor Stipend (for completing the contest).

However, please keep in mind that the sooner you submit your video, the sooner you will receive your Makers Kit and begin working on your project! To submit your video, go here.

WHAT SHOULD MY VIDEO INCLUDE?

The video should be 1-5 minutes. See the full video rubric in the manual here.

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Who was Thomas Edison?

Talk about Thomas Edison as an inventor and person. Information on Thomas Edison can be obtained in several ways. Some suggestions include:

http://www.nps.gov/edis/index.htm

www.edisonmuckers.org

www.thomasedison.org

edisonsear

What do you plan to invent?

Talk about the invention you had in mind and what problem(s) it would solve. This can be a very loose description, as we understand that ideas may change after getting your materials and starting to build it.

 

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Happy Birthday Thomas Edison!!

Did you know Thomas Edison was born on February 11? He would go on to become an inventor, entrepreneur, project manager, technology leader, manufacturer, businessman, husband, and father. In his lifetime, he achieved more than the average man such as a record 1,093 patents, only one of them being the lightbulb.

Below are some of the highlights of his life. Thanks for everything, Tom!

Major Career Stats

Thomas Edison created whole new industries such as:

  • Music industry (phonographs)
  • Motion pictures (camera to projector)
  • Power industry/electric light bulb
  • The West Orange invention factory [R&D labs]

Thomas Edison also disrupted and radically changed these industries:

  • Telegraphs
  • Telephones
  • Cement making
  • Battery manufacture

Thomas Edison made lasting impressions on the world through:

  • Championing solar energy (ca. 1910-1915)
  • Promoting electric vehicle garage charging (ca. 1905)
  • Being the great grandfather of STEM education and team based problem solving
  • Inspiring people to “fail” their way to success
  • Continuous product improvement in all industries

Thomas Edison’s Impact on Society

  • He has the most recognizable face in the world
  • His landmark light bulb invention is the international icon for bright ideas
  • Life Magazine proclaimed him the “Man of the Millennium” [1996]
  • TIME Magazine featured him on cover of special July 2010 history issue which proclaimed him relevant to our world today
  • He was an inspiration to generations of inventors and entrepreneurs
  • The biggest effect on today’s society? Thomas Edison’s inventions and creations to this very day account for about $12 trillion of the world’s $80 trillion economy; and one-fourth of the jobs on the planet. How is that for staying power?

Thomas Edison teaches us more than anything else that inventors and entrepreneurs are a huge positive force for good in the world.

Enjoy an exciting TEDx Talk story about Thomas Edison at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vrw5brX1Wfo .

Thomas Edison said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.
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