How did Maria Telkes die? Her passing explained

Maria Telkes

In December 2022, Google honored Maria Telkes, often called The Sun Queen, for her solar energy inventions. Telkes, born in Budapest, Hungary, developed an interest in chemistry after witnessing the melting of sulfur. After obtaining a degree and Ph.D. in Hungary, she moved to the United States and became a citizen. 

During WWII, Telkes created a desalination machine that helped soldiers along seas get clear water. As a researcher at MIT, she failed to develop a habitable solar-heated home. Undeterred, Telkes continued researching, and in 1948, she and architect Eleanor Raymond created the first modern residence heated using solar energy. 

“It’s the things supposed to be impossible that interest me,” Telkes said during a 1942 interview. “I like to do things they say cannot be done.”

Maria Telkes died in 1995 of natural causes in Budapest, Hungary

Maria Telkes spent most of her life in the United States, contributing to scientific research. Telkes returned to Hungary in 1995, where she died of natural causes on 2nd December 1995. 

Maria retired at 77, having registered more than 20 patents. She received many awards, including a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Sciences Building Research Advisory Board. 

There’s no record of Maria getting married or having children.