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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.

Solar Power: America Hangs Its Head

John Perlin, sitting on a solar energy panel at the European photovoltaics conference, laments America’s lost lead in the field.

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Quick Studies

When a Romance Is Threatened, People Rebound With God

And when they feel God might reject them, they buddy up to their partner.

How Can We Protect Open Ocean That Does Not Yet Exist?

As global warming melts ice and ushers in a wave of commercial activity in the Arctic, scientists are thinking about how to protect environments of the future.

What Kind of Beat Makes You Want to Groove?

The science behind the rhythms that get you on the dance floor.

Pollution’s Racial Divides

When it comes to the injustice of air pollution, the divide between blacks and whites is greater than the gap between the rich and the poor.

Hunger and Low Blood Sugar Can Spur Domestic Quarrels

In an experiment, scientists found a correlation between low blood glucose and higher levels of spousal frustration.

The Big One

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