Mystery Image #20

Posted by John Dojka on January 5, 2010 in

I can see this section of the roof of Jonsson-Rowland Science Center from my office window and the apparatus in this photo is no longer there.  Does anyone know what this apparatus was and how it was used?  When it was installed and/or removed?


Wed, 01/06/2010 - 16:29 Permalink

Wow, they're big! Look at those little guys crawling on it!

Stephen Davis
Wed, 01/06/2010 - 19:37 Permalink

I wasn't involved in the project but it was some sort of solar power experiment. The venetian blind things were mirrors which focused the sun onto the dish thing on the end of the boom to heat a fluid. I don't know what they then did with the hot fluid. It was on that roof for a long time in the mid 1970's.
Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly when. Maybe somebody involved in the project will respond.

Alan Moorse
Sun, 02/14/2010 - 15:08 Permalink

As I recall, it was removed sometime around 1990.

I associate it with Mark Rice, former director of the incubator center, although that might not be accurate. At the very least, he had some knowledge of it. Whether that stemmed from direct involvement with it, from his years as a student and staff member, or from his working in the solar power industry, I don't know.

Perhaps you could consult him. Good luck!

Catherine L. Fiore
Mon, 10/18/2010 - 14:36 Permalink

It was an experimental solar collector which moved to track the sun, and focused the radiation on a point collector on that arm. It was on the roof of the Science center, appearing some time in the mid 70's.

In reply to by egglel

Wed, 10/20/2010 - 09:55 Permalink

Catherine, your comment directed me to the appropriate photo file that contains many more photographs of the solar collector. Thanks for your help!

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 05:29 Permalink

One of my roomates worked on this. At the time, it and the Mars Rover were the most well-known research projects ongoing at RPI. Makes me feel very old to see it was pretty much forgotten by 2010.

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