December 22, 2000
Nakamura Wins 2000 Honda Prize For Contribution to Eco-Technology
Prize Includes 10 Million Yen (Approximately $93,000)
Santa Barbara, Calif.--Shuji Nakamura, professor of materials at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), has been awarded the 2000 Honda Prize. Conferred annually since 1980 by the Honda Foundation of Japan, the prize consists of a certificate, medal, and 10 million yen (over $93,000 at current exchange rates). It recognizes a distinguished contribution to "eco-technology"--the harmonizing of human activities and the natural environment.
Nakamura, the 21st recipient of the prize and the third Japanese to be so honored, has been recognized especially for his inventions of blue, green, and white light emitting diodes (LEDs). The energy-efficient white LED will likely replace incandescent lights, which squander most of their energy by putting out more heat than light. White LEDs will use 20 to 50 percent less energy to make light than the conventional incandescent bulb. The press release issued by the Honda Foundation emphasizes that the LEDs invented by Nakamura "will consume very little power, are environment friendly, and will be one of the most important energy saving devices."
In addition to blue, green and white LEDS, Nakamura has also used the semiconducting material gallium nitride to create the first blue laser. That invention translates into the very real possibility of a 10-fold increase in the amount of information that can be contained on a CD or DVD.
Ceremonies for conferring the Honda Prize were held at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo on Nov. 17, the birthday of the late Soichiro Honda, whose philosophy informs the Honda Foundation's mission of contributing to the creation of a truly humane civilization.
Nakamura joined the UCSB faculty during the winter 2000 quarter. Until accepting that position, he was with Nichia Chemical Industries in Tokushima, Japan, where he had conducted his research since 1979 and had headed the Department of Research & Development since 1993.