Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey
If that kid is not a middle aged retired Nigerian General, then he deserves top marks for the thought processes (and some
backing - even if only an intro for later).....easy to sit back and say can't work / won't work, indeed the thing about technology is that to be commercial
it does not need to be cutting edge or better than everything that has ever been.
The crazy tree-thing as reported by the media can't work/won't work/doesn't work. The thing about science is that it ain't magic. Arranging a single
panel in some suboptimal orientation to the sun reduces efficiency. Doing this a bunch of times, then tying them all together somehow, does not sum to some greater efficiency than if each has just been oriented optimally in the first place. That is the story for solar panels
, and electricity in general.
Beau's "engineer" could learn something here: magic just doesn't happen inside wires. If the missing amount of energy were disappearing due to wire size it could be doing so only in the form of heat - given the particular expectations and results, lots of really, really obvious heat.
The story for trees is much more interesting, and it's what the kid was looking at. The experiment
partially explains why trees, particularly non-deciduous trees, are built as they are. It could only be applicable to solar panels
in very sub-optimal conditions: well out of the tropics, unwilling to re-aim your panels
every few months, and perhaps competing with other tree-panel-things for access to sunlight might do it, but a motorized controller (the obvious missing control from the original experiment) would still probably be a much better investment.
The actual writeup, undistorted by incompetent reporters, is here: The Secret of the Fibonacci Sequence in Trees