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'Young Naturalist' Granted A Patent In Solar Energy

Northport Middle School student Aidan Dwyer applied a mathematical principle found in trees to improve the performance of solar panels.

Aidan Dwyer has accomplished more in his life than most people three times his age. He sails, he golfs-- and he is a patented innovator of solar panel arrangements.

Dwyer applied the Fibonacci sequence, a mathematical principle widely occurrent in nature, to solar panel arrays in a months-long backyard experiment. He found that small solar panels arranged according to the Fibonacci sequence found in tree branches produced 20 percent more energy than flat panel arrays, and prolonged the collection window by up to two and a half hours.

Most remarkably, the elegant tree design out-performed the flat panel array during winter exposure, when the sun is at its lowest point, by up to 50 percent. 

Dwyer received a proclamation from the Town of Huntington on Tuesday for his accomplishments in the field of natural science. His most recent innovation was also honored by the Museum of Natural History in New York, which dubbed him a "2011 Young Naturalist" in July, alongside only 12 other students nationwide in grades 7 through 12. 

Dwyer has been awarded a provisional patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for his innovation, which he says has garnered a lot of interest. When asked just how many entities expressed interest, he simply stated, "alot."

Outside of precocious pursuits, 13-year-old Dwyer is a regular kid. He loves to sail around Northport Bay in his Optimist and play golf with his family. He is also a kind soul and said he will remain dedicated to scientific discovery in the interest of the greater good when he grows up. 

"I'm interested in science because it helps the world," he said.  

Marie Jacquelyne August 20, 2011 at 11:11 AM
It probably would generat even more..ever thought why leaves change color in autumn? To protect themselves from the sun. Know why birds sing so much in Spring? To wake up the trees.
p.v.saranya August 24, 2011 at 10:23 AM
hi iam from india named saranya.i read about the mushroom named armillariellamelia, which emits light in night . now my question is the light produced in this mushroom can be stored later it can be used for home needs , by using certain chemicals. is it possible? whether it is useful for aidan dwyer's experiment
Zachariah Wiedeman August 24, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Sadly, there has been no "breakthrough" as Aidan's experiment is flawed in multiple ways and his results are incorrect. Optimal angle is mathematically impossible to improve upon, Aidan was measuring voltage which doesn't measure power generated, etc. However, kudos to Aidan for being the only human being "thinking" out of hundreds of others who just go along with whatever sounds good. For a complete breakdown of the problems with Aidan's "findings," go here: http://optimiskeptic.com/2011/08/21/this-is-where-bad-science-starts/
Gregory Mandarano September 21, 2011 at 01:10 AM
This kid is clearly a genius. His research makes perfect sense. It's a wonder it had to take a middle school student to reveal this! Very impressive.
Bf January 06, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Aiden, focus on your work and stay above the fray...many will chime in with all sorts of judgements...the so called experts say we teach nature, yet they cannot explain the complexity of the human brain or comprehend the vastness of the universe. Such small thinkers they are. Stay inquisitive, stay focused on your goal, dream big...i am pulling for you! Barry Familetto, Waltham, MA

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