LED Inventor Overlooked By Nobel Prize Award

Nick Holonyak is credited with inventing the red LED back in 1962. Holonyak invented the red LED while working at General Electric. Shortly thereafter LEDs were in use as indicator lights and displays in a multitude of electronics – watches, calculators, stereos, phones, digital clocks etc. in the home, and instrument panels and equipment in industry, manufacturing and display.

A green LED naturally followed, but blue proved much more of a problem. It wasn’t until Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura invented the blue LED that engineers were able to combine the three colours to make white light. Now LED bulbs, which only need about 20% of the energy of an incadescent bulb and last for decades, could go mass market.

‘Hell, I’m an old guy now, but I find this one insulting,’ 85-year-old Holonyak said from a care home in Urbana, Illinois, where he was thumbing through The Bright Stuff, a book about him and his invention, The Independent reported. ‘The LED as you know it today comes from us.’

The work on the 3 LEDs is difficult to separate in terms of who should be honoured. And even before Holonyak’s red LED, there were significant contributions from other scientists. Where do you draw the line?

09 Oct