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Blog Debunks 13-Year-Old Scientist's Solar Power Breakthrough

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posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 08:26 AM
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A 13-year-old who, observing trees, takes it upon himself to read up on the Fibonacci series and propose a way to better utilize solar energy is the feel-good story at its finest. So naturally, media outlets including us have been sharing the tale of seventh grader Aidan Dwyer's solar power "breakthrough" science project. But according to the blog The Capacity Factor, the media has been getting way ahead of itself.

In short, here is the story of young Dwyer's science finding: He was observing trees, and noticed how the branches held a spiral pattern, and wondered what would be the use of that. Looking at the Fibonacci series, which describes spirals, he also noticed that tree leaves adhered to the spiral sequence. This led him to propose arranging solar panels like oak trees leaves, a manner which would be 20 to 50 percent more efficient, energy-wise. The American Museum of Natural History rewarded him with a Young Naturalist award.

So far, so great. But The Capacity Factor, clearly unhappy with its role of the Grinch who must squash an adolescent's science discovery, has written a post called "In which hopelessly inept journalists reduce me to having to debunk a school science project." (The post as of this moment is temporarily unavailable, though we link to the cache.) The post indicates about Dwyer's discovery: "This is, I'm sad to say, clear nonsense. I'll take this in two parts: one, why his experiment is, unfortunately, completely broken (sorry again). Two, why the imagined result is impossible nonsense."

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It's been thoroughly debunked. This is what happens when peer reviewed studies aren't done. The kid was engaging in pseudoscience and didn't bother to check his 'facts.'

Relax no big breakthrough yet.




posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 08:28 AM
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Awww you mean there is no brainiac kid to save us from ourselves?


Maybe we can find one in minecraft.



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 08:32 AM
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reply to post by SigilOfLux
 


I admire the kid for even trying and I realize that sometimes you don't get it right the first time.
I think he still deserves a lot of praise and kudos.



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 08:32 AM
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Uh oh, sounds like Jimmy Neutron might be getting moved out of the Advanced Class as quickly as he got in...



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 08:39 AM
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You are going to collect more sun if you are tilted and angled the correct way at the correct time vs. having them spread around like a tree.

Say you have 15 panels that follow the path of the sun angle and tilt, vs having 15 spread around like a tree, which do YOU think will collect more energy?

The tree just needs room for multiple branches and that they each one gets enough light throughout the entire day.

Sorry the kid is a moron.



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:06 AM
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reply to post by SigilOfLux
 


The only question I have, is why is it that Trees aren't all flat panelled, optimally positioned collectors of Sunlight? Surely, if that was truly the optimal design for energy collection, Mother Nature (ie the fundamental Law of Evolution) would have ended on that design. But no. We find Trees in their enormous number all sharing a fundemental design. They all have leaves which follow the Fibonacci Sequence of distribution. I am betting there is surely something to it.



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:12 AM
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reply to post by OccultScience
 


There might be a physical constraint that restricts trees to such patterns.



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:15 AM
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His debunking is a measly two paragraphs in which he says voltage was recorded and the design is not optimal. The debunking looks more like an opinion than actual science.



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:17 AM
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Originally posted by OccultScience
reply to post by SigilOfLux
 


The only question I have, is why is it that Trees aren't all flat panelled, optimally positioned collectors of Sunlight? Surely, if that was truly the optimal design for energy collection, Mother Nature (ie the fundamental Law of Evolution) would have ended on that design. But no. We find Trees in their enormous number all sharing a fundemental design. They all have leaves which follow the Fibonacci Sequence of distribution. I am betting there is surely something to it.


Leaves aren't made out of metal so they droop, but in healthy plants the leaves can be flat across. And because the sun moves across the sky, it may be optimal for some leaves to be at an angle so they can catch the sun's rays when it is at an angle. Plants that are photo-tropic will move wherever the light is and not stay rigidly in place. That would be a really smart solar panel design, one that moves with the sun to catch the rays as the sun moves through the sky.
edit on 21-8-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)

edit on 21-8-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:21 AM
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Originally posted by OccultScience
reply to post by SigilOfLux
 


The only question I have, is why is it that Trees aren't all flat panelled, optimally positioned collectors of Sunlight? Surely, if that was truly the optimal design for energy collection, Mother Nature (ie the fundamental Law of Evolution) would have ended on that design. But no. We find Trees in their enormous number all sharing a fundemental design. They all have leaves which follow the Fibonacci Sequence of distribution. I am betting there is surely something to it.


Trees aren't make up of solar cells, circuits, and wires either.

On a less smart*** note look outside your window at a tree notice anything? It has leaves all over on every side to catch sunlight.

Solar panels are flat and moved at angles to catch the most sun light, its the most efficient way. Putting thousands of small solar panels arranged like leaves on a tree would be less effective because they would be caught in the shade and one side wouldn't even get sun until it moved to that side later in the day. Use some sense man lol!



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by filosophia
His debunking is a measly two paragraphs in which he says voltage was recorded and the design is not optimal. The debunking looks more like an opinion than actual science.


I think it makes a few of the guys feel better to trash the kid.
They are jealous of any attention he might have gotten.
Petty, unflattering and small but coming from science nerds without a wisp of creative imagination so who cares?



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 11:10 AM
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Originally posted by OccultScience
The only question I have, is why is it that Trees aren't all flat panelled, optimally positioned collectors of Sunlight?
Trees face a slightly different problem, they are alive and they need to stay alive without outside maintenance, so their optimally designed to survive, not for power output.



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:29 PM
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edit on 21-8-2011 by UmbraSumus because: double whammy post



posted on Aug, 21 2011 @ 09:29 PM
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Originally posted by OccultScience
reply to post by SigilOfLux
 


The only question I have, is why is it that Trees aren't all flat panelled, optimally positioned collectors of Sunlight? Surely, if that was truly the optimal design for energy collection, Mother Nature (ie the fundamental Law of Evolution) would have ended on that design.



Trees compete with one another for light - a flat panel would soon find itself in the deep shade.

Also, re: mother nature leading to optimal energy collection "design".....

What we call trees have been evolving over vast amounts of time - the ability of trees plants etc. to utilise photosynthesis was not a factor in such organisms early histories something which I imagine is reflected in aspects of trees current `design` - for lack of a better word.
The human eye could also be a better "optimally positioned collectors of Sunlight" ....... but it isn`t . A legacy of our evolutionary past.



posted on Aug, 22 2011 @ 03:25 AM
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The "Debunk" seems to have less scientific value than the suggestion it attacks if you ask me. I would love for the blogger to post up some actual numbers we could all look at, that prove his point.



posted on Aug, 22 2011 @ 03:31 AM
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reply to post by OccultScience
 


because wood isnt as strong as metal...

remember.... thats how we are able to build things taller than trees. DEE DEE DEE!!!!



posted on Aug, 22 2011 @ 04:48 AM
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Let me see.

Each and every solar cell positioned towards the sun in a parabolic array to absorb and also to focus reflected solar energy directly to a single collector, or, a bunch of loosely positioned solar cells in such an array that they not only don't always face the solar source optimally but also do not observe an added benefit of focusing reflected sunshine to a central collector? Hmmm, I must ponder this to determine the more efficient design. OK, done, the latter wins!



posted on Aug, 26 2011 @ 07:15 PM
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reply to post by newcovenant
 


not to mention, damn right unpatriotic

when was the last time an american schoolchild showed some kind of academic excellence?

trash on the kid like some sort of ats debunker; essentially nitpicking the kids project to death


yeah, fine way to encourage the kids.

lol when i was 13 i did a science fair project on the metric system, not only did i set up visuals explaining it but i also canvased my neighborhood, interviewing people about the metric system and if they felt it was time to replace the english system.

i won 1st prize for my school, but was not able to participate in the regionals because of a gang-beating and having my project materials destroyed after school hours, by a dumb-ass who submitted a clay volcano that spewed soap, a real bad loser.
edit on 26-8-2011 by DerepentLEstranger because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 12:40 AM
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reply to post by DerepentLEstranger
 


One of the most valuable things that kids have is the desire to excel and make a difference in the world. It doesn't take too many doses of negative feedback and embittered criticism to make a kid lose their enthusiasm and love of discovery. Soon they fall in line with the rest of the ticky-tacky unoriginal kids because teachers do not know how to handle exceptional-ism. Genuine inspiration and budding genius is squashed like a bug in favor of outcomes that all look the same. One of the worst things you can be guilty of in this life is dashing the dreams and aspirations of a child to make them be like everyone else.



posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 01:30 AM
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Originally posted by newcovenant
reply to post by DerepentLEstranger
 


One of the most valuable things that kids have is the desire to excel and make a difference in the world. It doesn't take too many doses of negative feedback and embittered criticism to make a kid lose their enthusiasm and love of discovery. Soon they fall in line with the rest of the ticky-tacky unoriginal kids because teachers do not know how to handle exceptional-ism. Genuine inspiration and budding genius is squashed like a bug in favor of outcomes that all look the same. One of the worst things you can be guilty of in this life is dashing the dreams and aspirations of a child to make them be like everyone else.


On the flipside always telling them they're special little darlings can also lead to massive fail.



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