Illuminating the New Century

OSA Centennial Snapshots: Illuminating the New Century

Patricia Daukantas

Over the past decade, energy-efficient LED lighting has brightened the world. These bulbs are the Nobel Prize-winning technology you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Today, U.S. consumer publications run articles with headlines such as “6 Reasons to Switch Every Light Bulb in Your House to LED.” A recent Goldman Sachs report predicted that by 2020, six out of ten light bulbs will be LEDs—and nine out of ten bulbs by 2025. Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura equally shared the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the invention of blue LEDs and, by extension, the bright white LED. It’s not every year that the Nobel committee singles out a tangible, easily understood product that fits in the palm of one’s hand.