NPR : News

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

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/.

NPR

Professional Wrestling World Mourns Longtime Star 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper

The Canadian entered the WWF as a villain and fought Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the first Wrestlemania event. The career gave the often-bekilted grappler many chances to show off his bagpipe skills.
WAMU 88.5

Donald Trump Sues Chef José Andrés Over Hotel Pullout

Trump has filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against Chef José Andrés and his companies after Andrés announced that he's canceling plans to have a restaurant inside Trump's Old Post Office hotel in downtown D.C.
WAMU 88.5

Donald Trump Sues Chef José Andrés Over Hotel Pullout

Trump has filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against Chef José Andrés and his companies after Andrés announced that he's canceling plans to have a restaurant inside Trump's Old Post Office hotel in downtown D.C.
NPR

Despite Host Controversy, Amazon Takes A Chance On 'Top Gear'

The trio that made Top Gear the world's biggest car show will return to the small screen in a new show for Amazon Prime. The BBC canned one of its hosts last year after a fight with a producer.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.