Solar Energy
Ever since the dawn of time, the sun has been a resource we cannot live or do
without, so its not such a shock that man has come up with the idea of solar
energy. Solar energy had many uses. Some can be dangerous and some, a very
valuable asset to the modern world. Solar energy is energy derived from the sun
in a form of ultra-violet rays. Its was first applied to use in 212 B.C., by the

Greek genius Archimedes. Solar energy was used to defend the habor of Syracuse
against the Roman fleet. Archimedes used a mirror or "burning mirror" as
they had called it, to set fire to the ships of the Roman fleets while standing
on shore (McDaniels 83). It wasnít until 1615 when Salomon de Caux constructed
the first solar device; a solar engine. His device was made of glass lenses,
supporting frame, and an airtight metal vessel containing water and air. This
produced a small water fountain when the air heated up during operation. This
was considered to be more of a toy than a device, but it was the first published
account of the use of solar energy since the fall of the Roman Empire (Cheremisinoff

1). Some other use of solar energy after that was the solar roof and the solar
oven. The solar roof was thought up by Harold Hay. In a solar roof system, water
is contained in a clear plastic bag and it is placed on a black metal roof. Hay
got the idea while traveling in India on a technical aid mission for the U.S
government. While there, he noticed that many people were living in rusty, sheet
metal shacks, which were hot in the day and cold at night. Hayís plan was to
remove the insulation from the roof on winter days so that the roof would get
hot, and Replacing the insulation at night to allow the shack to be warm through
the night. Then in the summer, he would so the reverse of what he did in winter
to let the house cool at night and replacing the insulation in the daytime to
block out the heat. Then over the years, Hay and a man named John Yellott
constructed a 3- by 3.7-m building using water basins as the actual roofing
material. During the summer, a slab of foam insulation was rolled back at night,
and the water would become cold through the night sky evaporation. Since the
water supply sat directly on a metal ceiling, it absorbed the heat from the room
and kept the building air-conditioned all day. During the winter, the movable
insulation was rolled back in the daytime which allowed for it to collect heat.

This generated enough heat into the house through the ceiling at night to keep
the room comfortable (McDaniels 179-181). Then there was the solar cooker.

Developed by Augustin Mouchot in France and by John Ericsson in the United

States in the nineteenth century. They wanted to develop a solar cooker that not
only reached high temperatures, but also was to be used as a means of heat
storage enabling food to be cooked after sundown. Mouchot built a solar steam
engine that operated a printing press in Paris in 1882. In the United States,

John Ericsson invented what he called the "Ericsson-cycle" which was a
hot-air engine for the making of solar heat. The sunís rays would be
concentrated with the use of a parabolic reflector, which was designed to track
the sun across the sky in order to keep a constant power output. (McPhillips

86-89) There was also the solar oven. In 1837, and astronomer from England named

John Fredrick Herschel introduced to the world a solar oven. He built a small
solar oven while on a trip to Africaís Cape of Good Hope. He constructed it as
a mahogany, painted it black and buried it in the sand for purposes of
insulation. a doubled-glazed cover, which was the only portion of the oven left
exposed, serve to limit heat losses through the top, while at the same time,
letting in sunlight. The maximum temperature of the oven was of about 240 degree

F and it was used throughout his expedition by him and his staff to cook both
meat and vegetables (Regino 5). Not all solar energy inventions and discoveries
were good. Some solar energy is dangerous. One for example would be lasers.

Laser, an electromagnetic wave that is made up of excited atoms. It produces
coherent light. This means that the light produced is orderly, with all the
excited atoms