The world’s largest solar powered chandelier was unveiled at a British science park today – powered by 700 glass bulbs which light up when exposed to sunlight.
Each bulb contains an individual Crookes radiometer, tiny metal paddles which spin when hit by sunlight, causing the 15ft-high light to shimmer and flicker.
It is the centrepiece of the newly-opened Bristol & Bath Science Park in Emerson’s Green, Bristol, a world-class centre for science and technology businesses.
Artist Luke Jerram, who created the giant structure, is renowned for his extravagant installations – his ongoing ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ exhibition has seen more than 700 grand pianos placed in cities across the world.
He said: “Scientists and artists often start by asking similar questions about the natural world but end up with completely different answers.
“Both have to take a leap from what can be observed into what is unknown. It’s important to explore these boundaries and limitations.
“For many years after the invention of the radiometer, a fierce debate raged about how they worked and it was many years before it was fully explained.
“They are still beautiful, inspiring and thought provoking.
“In a way, the chandelier couldn’t really be anywhere else but Bristol & Bath Science Park, a place built to solve scientific riddles and to lead to innovation.”
Crookes radiometers were invented by British scientist William Crookes, whose experiments with cathode ray tubes led to innovations which were used in the earliest televisions.