Earth’s Innovators


Ted Sargent


Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
light.utoronto.ca/tsargent

Ted Sargent didn’t set out to revolutionize solar technology. The
31-year-old nanotechnologist was working on creating a paintable
infrared sensing material that could allow digital cameras to see in
the dark or enable ultrafast fiber-optic communications. Then one day
in the lab, a graduate student shone an infrared light on the material
and watched it convert the energy from that light into electricity.

“That was the eureka moment — seeing that it had this property
we hadn’t even expected,” Sargent recalls. Sargent, who is something of
the boy wonder of nanotechnology (the science of building molecule-size
devices), is mostly known for creating materials that can be used for
fiber-optic communications. But when he realized the implications of
his discovery, he started boning up on solar energy. “There’s this huge
opportunity,” he says, “because half the energy that’s coming from the
sun and hitting the earth is in the infrared spectrum.” That energy is
untapped by today’s solar collectors, which react only to light in the
visible spectrum.

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MS 50% More Common In U.S. Than Thought?

Tracking Study Of Neurological Disorders Shows 1 In 1,000 Americans Have Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) may be 50 percent more common in the United States than previously thought, according to a new research review.

Almost one in 1,000 people in the United States has MS, according to the review.

“Our estimate of MS prevalence is about 50 percent higher than a comprehensive review from 1982,” says researcher Deborah Hirtz, M.D., in an American Academy of Neurology news release. “Whether this reflects improvement in diagnosis or whether incidence is actually increasing deserves further study,” says Hirtz, who works at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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