Nick Holonyak, 75, has been presented with the Lemelson-MIT Prize, a $500,000 award given to top inventors by American academic institution, MIT.
Before inventing the LED light, Holonyak was already an inventor of some note. For example, while he was at US corporation General Electric, he invented the house dimmer switch. Later while at Bell Labs he hit on an idea of using semiconductors to generate light.
The LEDs he invented in 1962 now last about 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. His work has resulted in some 31 patents.
Holonyak is now a professor at the University of Illinois. He has been quoted as saying that while he suspected LEDs would become common, he never knew how many uses they would have. µ
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