Killjoy boffins have poured cold water on a 13-year-old kids solar panel scientific breakthrough.
Last week Aidan Dwyer, hit the headlines claiming that he got shedloads more juice from solar panels if he laid them out so that they looked more like a tree.
Dwyer noticed that tree branch patterns are Fibonacci numbers, postulated that it had to do with photosynthesis, and took some pretty involved measurements of an oak tree. He then built a PVC-pipe solar array in the same shape, as a control.
He won the American Museum of Natural History Young Naturalist award and theory that trees evolved with these patterns for good reason. A tree-shaped pattern is as much as 50 percent more efficient than the flat panel.
Now more than one boffin has got a bit miffed at Dwyer’s theory and claimed it is a good reason why boffins have peer review before publishing.
The argument is that tree branches are arranged the way they are for a reason, so are today’s silicon solar cells.
According to Wired, Dwyer failed to measure power outputs from the solar cells. Instead he measured voltage, without a load attached (“open circuit”). The actual power delivered by a solar cell is not linearly related to the open-circuit voltage. Hell, who has not made that mistake.
Wired found some boffin who came up with another mathematics formula which proved that Dwyer’s theory was impossible, and then went on to prove that black was white and therefore zebra crossings were pointless.
“The panels are non-interacting. They do not obstruct (shade) each other, or heat each other, etc. The panels in the “tree” do actually shade themselves, which makes them strictly worse and does not change this result. How did this confused science project became international news?”, Wired’s mad scientist wrote.
Clearly the mad scientist has not been outside much and has not noticed that everyone else is at the beach. He also failed to note that his scientific rival was 13 which is an age when I was building X-wings out of balsa wood.