Inventor of LEDs cross at Nobel snub

NobelNick Holonyak, who invented the first visible-light LEDs is a little miffed that he never got a Nobel Prize for his work.

This is particularly so now that the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics to three inventors of the blue light-emitting diode.

While Holonyak is not exactly complaining that he isn’t among them, he is a little cross that they got the prize while his 1962 invention has never been singled out for recognition by the academy.

He told the Associated Press that he was an old guy now, but found it insulting.

The Nobel Foundation highlighted the great potential social impact of blue LEDs, which made LED bulbs possible and could help dramatically reduce the amount of energy the world expends on lighting.

However you have to wonder why blue LEDs get the prize while  Holonyak never got much recognition.

Before Holonyak’s red LED, there was the infrared LED, along with even earlier discoveries, and there is a host of other researchers who could share credit in the device’s development.

Holonyak, who won the IEEE Medal of Honor (sic) in 2003 , originally set out to develop a red diode laser. In the process, he also succeeded in creating a red LED. Holonyak and several of his colleagues later went on to use compound semiconductors similar to those used to create the first LED to develop a transistor laser, a device capable of emitting both electrical and optical signals.