Friday, July 20, 2007

Living energy.

There is this bright idea to make solar cells from organic material.
Imitating nature.
This idea has been made into reality and there actually exist organic solar cells.
The problem though is that the efficiency is very low.
Only 2 % of the sunlight is transformed into electricity.

What scientists are now trying to achieve is to boost the output.
If they can bring it up to 9 % it becomes commercially interesting.

One of the places where they are trying to create and invent high output organic solar cells is in a dark and sombre basement of the Hildebrand Building on the campus of the University of Berkeley.
The Chinese scientist Doctor Yue Wu, a Miller research fellow, is growing organic material that is put on small plastic square pieces to be tested on the capacity of transforming light into electricity.

It is a slow and methodical process and success is not guaranteed.
It is not easy to put oneself into the footsteps of the creator.

Besides the excitement of photographing pioneering scientists in action, there is also this most interesting privilege to meet them.
There was a lunch of bento boxes outside a Japanese restaurant on Central Avenue, Berkeley, in the warm sunshine.
Where the conversation soon turned political and philosophical.

It was explained for example why the students of the University of Berkeley were not actively opposing the war in Iraq like the students have been doing during the Vietnam War.
It is, according to the scientists lunching, because nowadays the students are too well off.
They have it too good and can’t really care about things like politics, compatriots and many innocent Iraqi civilian dying every day.

While having this most pleasant lunch with these bright minds the pedestrians, from all over the world, and the cars were passing by.
And it could not be avoided to think of the 15-year-old girl of the night before knocked down while crossing the street.
Loyal and fervent blog readers will remember this horrific experience.
Questions arose about how serious her injuries were and if she would have long lasting physical and psychological effects of this dramatic encounter with an inexperienced young driver.

When checking out of the Travelodge Hotel, the manager Sheila Huckaby was asked if she had any news about the girl of the accident.
Nothing was known.

Late in the afternoon a place to spend the night was found in a national park near Santa Rosa north of San Francisco.
Because of the trees no connection could be made with the Satmex satellite.

And again the hundreds of pictures made in the laboratory of the University of Berkeley had to get their captions.
What was happening in the picture?
Who was in the picture?
Where and when?

Some very exciting images were made today and that gives a photographer always a wonderful feeling which he humbly wishes to share with all the fervent and loyal blog readers.


Roland Pesch said...

There is another reason why U.S. university students are less excited about the Iraq war than a previous generation was about the Vietnam war.

They are not personally at risk. There is no draft for this war.

The young Americans who are dying and killing in Iraq are volunteers. This translates to one of two cases, leaving aside those who may simply like violence. Some of them are people fanatically loyal to their country's leaders (they may confuse this with loyalty to their country).

More sadly, some are people with so few options in life that the military seems financially attractive, in spite of the risk of being killed or maimed (or of doing the same to others).

Ken Norton - Image 66 Media said...

Too well off to protest? I think those "scientists" need to study history a little bit. The war Vietnam War protesters were from all economic strata. If anything, they were more priveledged than today's young adults.

The advancements in solar technologyhave been so slow. It's good to see continuing research in this area, but until the costs of manufacturing come way down we'll remain a fossel-fuel devouring world.