Headline June 25, 2014/ The Master Mad Inventor



The cloud ships would blow moisture into the air creating
 artificial clouds to bounce sunlight away from Earth.

Professor Stephen Salter is a rare thinker of the world. And he has some very big, big plans.

From behind his cluttered desk, he talks of an  invention  that will enable humankind to control one of the most fundamental and fickle of natural forces : The Weather.

If the Professor has his way, clouds will form over cloudless oceans, ''We'll really be saying to the Persian Gulf or the Red sea that we'd like them to behave a bit more like the Atlantic,'' he says.

Desert nations will be transformed  into breadbaskets. Farmers will no longer live in fear of drought. Conflicts over scarcity of water will evaporate. What new instrument has Salter invented?

The professor reaches over among the heaps of paperwork, on a bench behind his desk and pulls out a hand drill attached to a whisk   -the kind you beat eggs with- . Now close your eyes and imagine an eggbeater the size of an office building:

Floating on the surface of the sea, throwing tiny droplets  of water into the air as it spins. Imagine a cloud of ocean mist growing along the waves, rising up into the sky,  drifting landward on a gentle headwind........

Laugh if you must. It's easy enough to do. With a just hint of Willy Wonka's  wild enthusiasm   -not to mention a disorderly office and a hyperfertile imagination. Salter neatly matches  some elements of the mad-inventor stereotype.

By his own estimation, he possesses  ''a very noisy, messy, intidy mind which produces a lot of rubbish but is then able to select good bits.'' This mind-set often puts him at odds with his academic colleagues.

Most meteorologists dismiss Salter's invention out of hand  -without, he insists,  having bothered to study his proposal. Others are convinced that it won't work but are curious to know why not.

Even a sympathetic scientist puts the odds at one in 10.  Nevertheless, somebody is listening; the British government some years ago granted Salter pound 105,000 to explore the potential of his Spray Turbine.

The grant gave Dr Salter, then 63 years old, professor of engineering at Edinburgh University, some room to work on his design calculations. Everybody knew that it meant that years of complex climate modelling lie ahead 

And it could well be years upon years before the first full-scale prototype takes shape.

Early design show a wind-driven turbine mounted a trimaran-shaped pontoon, rising 35 meters above the sea. Aerofoil blades spin around a vertical axis, generating centrifugal force that sucks water from just above the surface of the sea.

Forced outward through pipes inside the blades, the water then passes through the nozzles and emerges as fine droplets. The height of these nozzles is crucial: the mist must form above a narrow layer of stagnant, water-saturated air that usually keeps a lid on seawater:

Preventing its evaporation. Salter's idea is that a cool, moisture heavy cloud will form and be blown landward. For maximum efficiency, the turbines would operate in self-propelled fleets, steered by satellite to wherever rain is needed.

It's an ambitious plan, but the Professor has shown an aptitude even mastery for cross-disciplinary thinking.

As early as  1960s he dreamed up and created a touch-sensitive computer screen. He has a string of other inventions to his name, and although many of them aren't exactly household words  -they have recognised merit.

Professor Salter started out in aeronautics,  but working on warplanes and missiles didn't square with his pacifist principles:

''I suddenly realized that while Spitfires, the World War II fighters,  were good for dealing with the Luftwaffe, I really didn't want to make thins for killing little girls in Russia,'' he says.

He did a stint of Robotics research at Cambridge, and then in the  1970s got the idea to generate electrical power from ocean waves. He invented the eponymous   ''Salter's Ducks,''   -miniature floating turbines.

So, will Salter's gizmo create clouds in a clear sky? Scientists then, and now, give him long, long odds!!

The Honour And Serving of the Post continues:

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Scotland. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'''The Weatherman"'

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!