Inventors of Modern LED Light Win Nobel Prize For Physics

Oct 07, 2014 08:52 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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An American and two Japanese scientists won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics this week for inventing a new environment-friendly and energy-efficient light source, leading to the creation of modern LED light bulbs.

The scientists include Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano and American Shuji Nakamura, the award-giving body said on Tuesday.

"With the advent of LED lamps we now have more long lasting and more efficient alternatives to older light sources," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize, according to Reuters.

"As about one fourth of world electricity consumption is used for lighting purposes, the LEDs contribute to saving the Earth's resources," it added.

Nakamura, born in Japan but a U.S. citizen, works at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Akasaki works at the Meijo University in Japan and Amano is professor at the Nagoya University, according to Reuters.

Physics was the second of this year's crop of Nobels. The prizes were first handed out in 1901 to honor achievements in science, peace, and literature in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel.

"Red and green LEDs have been around for a long time but blue was really missing. Thanks to the blue LED we now can get white light sources which have very high energy efficiency and very long lifetime," Per Delsing, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, told a news conference.

For winning the physics award, which was the first field mentioned in Nobel's will, the scientists join some of the biggest names in science like Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and the husband and wife team Pierre and Marie Curie.

LED bulbs are transforming lamps in cars, lighting buildings and the technology is used as a source in smartphone and computer screens.

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