UCSB Professor shares Nobel Prize in Physics for work on LED lights

Oct 7, 2014

The Bay Lights art project has strings of LEDs on each vertical cable, sequenced to a fanciful display. It is world’s largest LED sculpture.
Credit Flickr member Steve Jurvetson

The Nobel Prize for Physics was announced Tuesday in Stockholm, Sweden, and the among the winners is a professor at UCSB.

"This year's prize is about light," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said as they revealed the three winners, including Professor Shuji Nakamura of UC Santa Barbara.

The award comes based on the three scientists work developing the Blue Light Emitting Diode (LED), the key element in many of the energy saving light fixtures we have today. Red and Green LEDs were invented in the 1960s, but it took several more decades to come up with the Blue version. When combined, the three colors produce white light.

Nakamura becomes the sixth faculty member in UCSB history to receive a Nobel, but he is no stranger to prestigious awards . He also took home an Emmy back in 2011 for his engineering developments in the world of television.

"We're of course thrilled about the prize and we think it'll do wonders for continuing to focus a spotlight on this really important work, which again, is continuing here at SSLEEC," said ​Tal Margalith, the Executive Director of Technology at the UCSB's Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronic Center (SSLEEC). "We're looking forward to seeing the nest big discovery."

The Nobel committee said the LED breakthroughs are saving energy worldwide and bringing light to developing countries.