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2 Japanese, American win Nobel Physics Prize for blue LEDs

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Shuji Nakamura, one of the three Nobel recipients, took American citizenship, which by Japanese law meant that he had to renounce his Japanese citizenship. Still, the Japanese press insists on reporting that three Japanese people won the honor. At least the English-language press (like this article) is reporting that they were "Japanese born," which is more accurate.

Anyway, I hope that this helps toward convincing the Japanese government to allow dual citizenship past the age of 20, which is a particular concern for those of us with dual nationality children.

10 ( +22 / -12 )

Love blue LED lights. They look so cool. My mouse has one and it works on any surface.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Readers, please don't get fixated on Mr Nakamura's citizenship. That is not what this story is about. Please focus your comments on the three men's achievements.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LED lighting is da bomb. It is currently illuminating my living room.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

LEDs are also commonplace in computers, TV, watches and mobile phone screens.

And let's not forget vehicle headlights - LEDs have made cars look pretty cool lately.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

mobile phone screens

Ahhh the blue LED which shamesung phones are having trouble with. The ugly blue tint on every shamesung phones is the result of a very low tech approach to blue LEDs.

While the blue LED's invention revolutionized how people approach light source objects, it's also the cause of major world-wide sleep deprivation epidemic. The LED emits blue light which stimulates the biological clock. Millions are now suffering from fatigue and tiredness. To protect yourselves against blue light from the blue LED, wear an orange stained glass.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

The biggest surprise for me about the LED lamp was it did not produce heat. I touched the bulb and it was not hot at all. It was a magic!

12 ( +12 / -0 )

The biggest surprise for me about the LED lamp was it did not produce heat. I touched the bulb and it was not hot at all. It was a magic!

That's because what makes LEDs unique is that they convert energy directly into photons (light), as opposed to conventional light bulbs which convert energy into mostly heat and a little light.

The invention of the blue LED, to compliment red and green LEDs, has made LED screens and displays possible.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

One of Mr. Nakamura's great achievements, in addition to the LED, are his observations and ideas on how the Japanese education system and corporate culture impedes innovation, and what can be done to pave the way to a brighter future for Japan (pun intended). This man truly is a visionary of the type sorely needed in Japan.

He goes to great length detailing his ideas in his book "怒りのブレイクスルー" ("Breakthrough of Anger," in Japanese, out of print) which he penned in 2001 after having spent a year as a lecturer at USC.

An English-language article published back in 2001 profiles him and that book: http://www.japaninc.com/article.php?articleID=53

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Congrats to all three. Their research has helped make the world a better place, one that uses less energy.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Congrats to all three! Especially the 85-year-old : may he be an inspiration to all Japanese that working life does not have to finish at 60 like many think!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Tonight's excuse for excessive drinking, I'm celebrating the LED!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Congratulations to all three men! I purchased my first LED light bulb in 1998, and it is still going strong.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I haven't ever appreciated (since I was born) the electric light bulb which Thomas Edison invented a long time ago. I and most of people would not appreciate the LED whatever when these lights are everywhere instead of bulbs, though today we feel blue light LED is the greatest invention of all in 20th century.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Changed my Maglite bulb to LED and the batteries last forever. Thanks a million!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Come to sciences, Nobel prize committee is on the right track. Come to politics, such as peace prize, they are far off.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Congratz to all three, LED is awesome! :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I still use candles.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kwatt: "I haven't ever appreciated (since I was born) the electric light bulb which Thomas Edison invented a long time ago."

What a ridiculous statement. So, you have lived only using candles until the LED was invented? Edison's invention was revolutionary in its time and gave us electric light for the first time. Without it, there could certainly be none of the technology that has been built on it after, like the LED. You can't appreciate one and not appreciate the other, sorry.

"...though today we feel blue light LED is the greatest invention of all in 20th century."

Speak for yourself. I happen to think the computer is the best invention, or rather the microchip specifically. LED is definitely one of the best inventions, but not THE best invention (and again, as with most great inventions it builds on those before it).

Anyway, congrats to these guys! An amazing accomplishment that has indeed had a profound impact on the world and on how we use energy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

For once I salute the Nobel Prize Committee for making a good choice of honoring people whose invention or discovery that is truly revolutionary and benefits the society, not those frivolous theories that common people do understand nor discoveries that bring threat of total annihilation of mankind.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One of Mr. Nakamura's great achievements, in addition to the LED, are his observations and ideas on how the Japanese education system and corporate culture impedes innovation, and what can be done to pave the way to a brighter future for Japan (pun intended). This man truly is a visionary of the type sorely needed in Japan. He goes to great length detailing his ideas in his book "怒りのブレイクスルー" ("Breakthrough of Anger," in Japanese, out of print) which he penned in 2001 after having spent a year as a lecturer at USC. An English-language article published back in 2001 profiles him and that book: http://www.japaninc.com/article.php?articleID=53

And just like he "broke free", so can others who constantly gripe, no matter where they come from, rather than change their lives for the better. Let him be a "shining" example.

Congrats to all 3 in any case.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They truly made the world a better place. Congratulations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For once I salute the Nobel Prize Committee for making a good choice of honoring people whose invention or discovery that is truly revolutionary and benefits the society, not those frivolous theories that common people do understand nor discoveries that bring threat of total annihilation of mankind.

I'm sorry, but just because common people don't understand it doesn't make theories like that of the Higg boson any less extraordinary. This nobel prize is for Physics - a science. Not engineering, not invention. The prize goes to those who have made the greatest discoveries in a particular branch of science.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@smith

When I was born, electric power and light bulb, TV set, Radio, ,,etc were already there. I just did not even think to appreciate them at all. I guess everybody thinks same. I would not mind about using candles if light bulb was not invented. I think the best of the best inventions is medicines. Most humans could not have survived without developed medicines rather than computer. Because I and most people can live without such computer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, I had no idea. Cool stuff!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am glad they got some kind of credit. The company they worked for got the patent on the blue LED, these men got nothing but their salary in return. The patent is worth many times the Nobel Prize money, but the prize itself will be a nice consolation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Ok, this'll sound crazy, but I am far more interested in these awards based on intelligence and I really wish it was produced and broadcasted like the Academy Awards: musical performances, hosts making jokes about the nominees, and the nominees for the Nobel awaiting the opening of the envelope...

Im tired of the umpteenth music award show for the latest pop stars, give me an awards show that celebrates real deserving people who usually get no attention!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ok, this'll sound crazy, but I am far more interested in these awards based on intelligence and I really wish it was produced and broadcasted like the Academy Awards: musical performances, hosts making jokes about the nominees, and the nominees for the Nobel awaiting the opening of the envelope...

That doesn't sound crazy at all. I'd watch it!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sangetsu03 at Oct. 08, 2014 - 06:23PM JST "I am glad they got some kind of credit. The company they worked for got the patent on the blue LED, these men got nothing but their salary in return. The patent is worth many times the Nobel Prize money, but the prize itself will be a nice consolation."

Uh, no. Akasaki and Amano were and are at universities. Nakamura did work for a company and received only 20,000 yen for his invention, which earned huge sums for the company.?He sued the company and was awarded a large sum. But the company appealed and Nakamura settled for a lesser amount. He also quit the company and went to the USA where he has a good, well-paid position at UCSB, a very nice house, etc.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If given the chance several million Japanese kids disgusted with the inner workings and meddling traditions of Japan would jump ship and work in the US and other nations. Funny thing is that the majority would succeed where otherwise remaining in Japan their chances for a good life is very slim. I am sure some would play a vital role in history like these 3 Nobel laurates. By the way in the mid Meiji period tens of thousands did emigrate. History might repeat itself.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The invention of LED technology has already lifted the electronic world to a new level and it is indeed a boon to consumers across the wold! The scientists behind the discovery do deserve the coveted Nobel prize for their concerted efforts for a noble cause benefitting millions of people around the world! Hearty congrats to all!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If given the chance several million Japanese kids disgusted with the inner workings and meddling traditions of Japan would jump ship and work in the US and other nations.

Not as many as you think: http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/why-do-so-few-young-japanese-want-to-work-overseas

1 ( +1 / -0 )

LEDs are great but I find most of the indicators on home appliances too bright/distracting/unnecessary. I usually remove them all to make it less like an amusement park.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's not a great breakthrough invention worthy of physics prize. It's not even a new discovery, but merely an improvement of photonic engineering based on major works already built by American scientists yearly before the japanese succeeded. the nobel prize is becoming rather a joke, just giving away prizes to anyone.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I like the LED more than the electric light bulb. It's brighter and more useful in reading at night.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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