This impressive young man, William Yuan, is exactly what we need -- except we need his sort of talent, ingenuity and engineering know-how by the hundreds of thousands, if not the millions.
Oh, yes, he's only twelve years old:
...a 12 year old boy in Beaverton, Oregon recently developed a new type of 3D solar cell that makes other solar cells look inefficient by comparison.Back in the 1950s and 1960s, a whole generation of future scientists and engineers were inspired by a potent combination of fear of losing out to the Soviets, and of science fiction inspiring them to believe that they, too, could make a better future.
William Yuan’s 3D cell can absorb both visible and UV light. According to his calculations, solar panels equipped with his 3D cells could provide 500 times more light absorption than current commercial solar cells and nine times more light than existing 3D solar cells.
If we're really serious about transforming energy and transportation in this country, we're going to need tons of engineers to do the hard, technical work involved. Hitting the math and science books may be less fun in the short run than playing games and chatting online, but the percentage of young Americans doing the former rather than the latter may well determine whether the United States remains a leading source of technological innovation, or becomes an also-ran.