University celebrates 50th anniversary of the LED invention - When you consider that the LED is still slowly making its way into the homes and lives of Americans everywhere it’s hard to believe that the technology is 50 years old. But it’s a fact and that fact was recently celebrated at the University of Illinois at their LED 50th Anniversary Symposium.
The Symposium featured, among many notable speakers, LED inventor Nick Holonyak. Professor Holonyak invented the LED light in 1962 and has been a professor of Electrical Computer Engineering at Illinois U since the next year, 1963. He was joined by others who contributed to the development of the LED light and other types of semiconductor lenses but in fact the celebration and the symposium were mostly held to honor him as the ‘father of the visible LED’.
Many students at the University were also there to pay tribute to the man that they say inspired them to go into the LED technology industry. The professor advised many of them over the years to go into LED development and those that did have had interesting and lucrative careers.
Of course the entire world really owes a debt to the good professor because, due to his incredible invention, the world now has a light source that is much more energy efficient as well as much ‘greener’ as there is no mercury used in LED lights as opposed to other light sources that have been invented over the years. The LED is also much more durable and longer lasting, creating less land-fill than that of other bulbs.
When asked about the impetus for creating the LED Professor Holonyak responded that, while it was in development, he was focused on finding the a light source that used the least amount of energy to create the most amount of light. In his mind the perfect light source would convert electrical energy to light (optical) energy with no loss of energy in between. LED’s come much closer to this dream than any other type of bulb.
In honor of his invention and the benefit it has had for all mankind October 24 was rechristened ‘Nick Holonyak Day’ in Illinois by Governor Quinn. Professor Holonyak seemed to take it all in stride. As the father of LED’s he’s been quietly making the world a better, brighter place for 50 years and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.