Technion—Israel Institute of Technology selected Shuji Nakamura, a UCSB engineering professor whose work was key in the production of white LED lighting, for the 2009 Harvey Prize, an award named for the late L.A. benefactor Leo M. Harvey.
Nakamura is a professor of materials in the College of Engineering at UCSB, where he also is co-director of the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center. He is internationally known for his invention of revolutionary new light sources: blue, green, and white light-emitting diodes and the blue laser diode. He and a UCSB team also developed the world’s first nonpolar blue-violet laser diodes.
According to the prize announcement issued by the Technion, Nakamura was chosen for the Harvey Prize for “his seminal contributions to light sources based on nitride containing III-V semiconductors. Professor Nakamura pioneered the research that led to the first semiconductor laser producing blue emission, which increases significantly the density of optical storage devices. His work on nitride containing light emitting diodes led eventually to the white light LED, which totally revolutionized lighting concepts. These white light LEDs will dominate light-producing systems, as they are significantly more efficient than conventional incandescent light bulbs, ensuring huge reductions in energy consumption.”
The Harvey Prize, which includes a $75,000 cash stipend, recognizes individuals who have made great contributions to science and technology and human health as well as individuals who have advanced the cause of peace in the Middle East. The other 2009 winner is Sir David Baulcombe, a botanist and research professor at the University of Cambridge in Britain.