Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 29, 1996


New method converts sunlight into energy

     Hopkins chemists are developing solar-energy cells that work
at the molecular level, fundamentally mimicking the way plants
convert sunlight into usable energy. The new cells, also being
developed in labs around the world, produce energy at less than
one-tenth the cost of the conventional silicon solar cells. They
also are less expensive to manufacture, and recent advances have
led to a tenfold increase in their efficiency at converting
sunlight into energy, making them about as efficient as
conventional solar cells.

     Gerald Meyer, an assistant professor of chemistry, is
leading the research that has resulted in a recent breakthrough.
The chemists have developed a new light-absorbing synthetic dye,
bonded with another chemical in one "supermolecule" that
increases the voltage production by 50 percent over similar
cells. A scientific paper about the innovation was published Nov.
29 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Employees braving snow earn Nathans gratitude

     The Blizzard of '96 caused its fair share of problems,
including the unprecedented closing of the university four of
five days during the week of Jan. 8. But while most people were
forced to stay inside and wait out the wild week that was, many
dozens of researchers and clinicians muscled their way through
the elements. Many others, like the Department of Sociology's
Binnie Bailey, braved the weather to complete work on major
grants whose deadlines were pressing. For many others, like
grounds manager Biff Brown's Homewood crew, it was shovel at home
and shovel some more at work. It was an effort interim President
Daniel Nathans wanted to formally acknowledge.

     "On behalf of the entire Hopkins family, I extend my
personal thanks to everyone who made a special effort to get to
work on the days the university was closed due to snow. Emergency
work performed clearing our streets and parking areas, securing
the campuses, meeting payroll deadlines and providing needed
services in research and clinical areas was essential to the
Hopkins community. 

     "To all staff who provided services during the Blizzard of
'96, I thank you for a job well done."

Children's literature exhibited at Evergreen 

     An exhibit highlighting a newly cataloged collection of
children's literature is on display at Evergreen House, 4545 N.
Charles St. The collection includes the works of well-known
authors including Charles Dickens, Horatio Alger, Louisa May
Alcott and the brothers Grimm.

     Tyler Stevens, a doctoral candidate in the English
Department, prepared the exhibit, which includes about 50 works
in 12 cases. Judy Gardner-Flint, senior cataloger at Evergreen's
Garrett Library, said the focus of the exhibit is gender issues
and how children were viewed in the 19th century.

     "Boys obviously had a much more outdoor, active view of
themselves, whereas the girls had more quiet time and indoor
activities," she said. "Tomboys were seen as something out of the

     An illustration from Grimm's "Golden Bird," published in
1922, is included in the exhibit, which will run through the end
of February. The exhibit is included in the tour of Evergreen
House; students or researchers who would like to study specific
works should contact Gardner-Flint at (410) 516-0341 or (410)

Go back to Previous Page

Go to Gazette Homepage