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John Perlin

John Perlin
An international expert on solar energy and forestry, John Perlin has lectured extensively on these topics in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Perlin is the author of A Forest Journey: The Story of Wood and Civilization as well as From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity. Perlin mentors those involved in realizing photovoltaic, solar hot-water, and energy-efficiency technologies at the University of California-Santa Barbara, and coordinates the California Space Grant Consortium as a member of UCSB’s department of physics.

Recent articles

Remember When Switzerland Ruled the World of Household-Size Solar?

In our final excerpt from his new book on the history of solar power, Let It Shine, author John Perlin describes a key moment in the debate over big, centralized solar sites and smaller, distributed rooftop panels.

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How Ronald Reagan Turned Out the Lights on Solar Power

In an excerpt from his new book Let It Shine, John Perlin reveals how one of the first actions of the new Reagan administration was to dim the lights on what had been a promising start for an American solar energy program. Solar in the U.S. has yet to fully recover.

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Solar Has Been in Our Energy Portfolio for 6 Millennia

In an excerpt from John Perlin’s new book, Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story of Solar Energy, the solar guru explains how making use of the sun’s energy is anything but a new technology.

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Solyndra’s Problems Were More Politics Than Power

Analysis: Solar energy writer John Perlin argues that Solyndra’s fall from grace reflects a bad choice in technique, and not a fundamental problem with solar energy.

Confessions of a Nuclear Power Safety Expert

Nuclear engineer Cesare Silvi studied unlikely outside threats to nuclear plants in Italy, which soured him on the energy source and caused him to go solar.

At Chernobyl It Was All Under Control

Valery N. Bliznyuk was a young physicist in Kiev 25 years ago during the Chernobyl disaster. His recollections of the slow spread of accurate information about what was really happening suggest parallels with the current nuclear crisis in Japan.

Inventor of Plastic Solar Cells Sees Bright Future

Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci, inventor of the plastic solar cell, reviews the past, present and bright future of his invention with Miller-McCune’s solar guru, John Perlin.

Greener Battlefields Would Be Safer for Troops

Allied troops would be much safer if they could cut the petroleum tether, according to a chorus of military leaders and planners.

Busting Myths About Photovoltaics

Fresh from the European Union photovoltaic conference, our John Perlin takes on some of the misconceptions clouding the solar power movement.

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Quick Studies

What Makes You Neurotic?

A new study gets to the root of our anxieties.

Fecal Donor Banks Are Possible and Could Save Lives

Defrosted fecal matter can be gross to talk about, but the benefits are too remarkable to tiptoe around.

How Junk Food Companies Manipulate Your Tongue

We mistakenly think that harder foods contain fewer calories, and those mistakes can affect our belt sizes.

What Steve Jobs’ Death Teaches Us About Public Health

Studies have shown that when public figures die from disease, the public takes notice. New research suggests this could be the key to reaching those who are most at risk.

Speed-Reading Apps Will Not Revolutionize Anything, Except Your Understanding

The one-word-at-a-time presentation eliminates the eye movements that help you comprehend what you're reading.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014