Nation & World News

Norwegian Town’s Bright Idea Is A Shining Example Of Ingenuity

By Scott Neuman on October 24th, 2013

Archimedes would be proud of the town of Rjukan, Norway. So would Sam Eyde.

Rjukan, home to about 3,500 residents and situated about 70 miles west of the capital, Oslo, has installed a trio of giant mountaintop mirrors to focus light into the valley town’s square during the cold (and dark) winter months.

Legend has it that on the advice of mathematician and inventor Archimedes, the town of Syracuse used parabolic reflectors to set fire to an attacking Roman fleet during the Siege of Syracuse. A hundred years ago, Eyde, a founder of Rjukan, first proposed adapting the idea to warm up the chilly town.

The three 550-square-foot mirrors, built at a cost of $825,000, couldn’t stay focused for long without sensors and computer control to follow the sunlight and keep it aimed at the center of town. So, in Eyde’s time the project wasn’t practical. Instead, in 1928, the town built a cable car leading to the top of a mountain so residents could take a short ride to the warming sunlight.

“The square will become a sunny meeting place in a town otherwise in shadow,” according to the project’s official website.

Here’s a video from Reuters that gives some details:

“We think it will mean more activities in town, especially in autumn and wintertime,” Karin Roe, head of the town’s tourist office, is quoted by The Telegraph as saying. “People will be out more.”

A similar project was completed in 2006 in the small Italian town of Viganella.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Hillary Clinton’s Use Of Personal Email At State Dept. Raises Questions

The arrangement circumvented a process that could have automatically preserved Clinton’s email communications in government archives.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington on Monday.

Netanyahu To Outline Iran Threats In Much-Anticipated Speech To Congress

The Israeli premier’s remarks are a culmination of a controversy that began in January with he was invited — without input from the White House — to make the speech.


Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters fire artillery during clashes with ISIS militants in Salahuddin province. The push to retake Tikrit is being aided by Iran, which is providing rockets and other support to Iraq.

With Iran’s Help, Iraqi Force Pushes Toward ISIS-Held Tikrit

A local source says that Iran, which has already been aiding Iraq with artillery and intelligence support, has sent fighters to help take the city of Tikrit.


People view a memorial to a man killed by police on Skid Row in Los Angeles. The police say two officers who were at the scene were wearing body cameras.

LAPD Shooting Update: Two Body Cameras, And A Gun Malfunction

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck are calling for calm and patience, as three investigations are underway into the police killing of a homeless man Sunday.


Seattle Cuts Public Transportation Fares For Low-Income Commuters

Low-income riders can now qualify for a program that will slash their fares by more than half of peak rates. But the cost will be offset by fare increases for everybody else.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments