The 2014 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to UC Santa Barbara professor Shuji Nakamura.
Nakamura is a professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering and was awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes. His invention enables bright and energy-saving white light sources.
According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences the inventions “holds great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids.”
Nakamura shares the Noble Prize with two colleagues from Japanese universities.
He is UC Santa Barbara’s sixth faculty member to be awarded a Nobel Prize.
A reception held on campus included a champagne toast with fellow researchers.
Nakamura showed the range of lights the public has used in recent years, and how the incandescent lights will be phased out for the more efficient and cost effective LED lights that are being developed with the technology he has researched. There will also be benefits to smartphones, computers, TV’s and other forms of electronics.
Another rewarding aspect of the research involves bringing new, affordable lights to under served nations. Combined with solar panels, it could bring light to homes, villages, schools and businesses in areas that have not been able to enjoy consistent and reliable light sources.