From Library Journal
Perlin (A Forest Journey) accessibly recounts the history of photovoltaics (the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity by solar cells) from the early 19th century to the present. In the 19th century scientists speculated, from the excavations of Pompeii, that the Romans had discovered that when clear glass is exposed to the sun, it acts as a solar heat trap. Building on this knowledge and coupling it with experiments using selenium, they created the world's first photoelectric module. This versatile power source continued to be important throughout the years: in the 1950s, solar batteries began to power telephone lines, space projects, navigation aids, and more; today, scientists are developing photovoltaic-powered satellites to provide Internet access to the remotest parts of the world. The story of photovoltaics also includes those individuals such as the priest in Mali whose innovations using solar cells and water brought relief to his drought-stricken country. This is fascinating reading for the layperson and would be suitable for large public, academic, and technical libraries where technology and the history of technology are in demand.AEva Lautemann, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Clarkston
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A fascinating fun-to-read historical account of the unfolding of the photovoltaics (PV) industry. [And] it very clearly explains how PV cells work by tracing the evolution of technologies and manufacturing--right up to the present. By providng this complex information in a story-like fashion, Perlin makes it very understandable and highly interesting. He clearly did his homework. FROM SPACE TO EARTH is well worth the read. -- Environmental Building News, October 1999
FROM SPACE TO EARTH is first-rate history, excellent writing, and great story-telling. No one could have done it better. And no one has been able to bring home to the lay reader the background of the technology that we all believe will be the best hope of the next millennium. John Perlin has made an important contribution on the eve of the 'solar century.' -- Neville Williams of SELCO
John Perlin's new book was a delight to read. [It] is the most exciting, down-to-earth book that I have read on the subject. His insightful prose lets the essence of photovoltaics come alive. This book should be required reading for all persons, at all levels, in the photovoltaics industry! A treasure. -- Photovoltaic News, August 1999 Paul Maycock