I think 3 people won the Nobel Prize in physics for inventing the blue
Did the inventor of the first (red) LED get a Nobel prize. It seems a
lot harder to invent the first one than the third or fourth.
The red guy perhaps was the first to think of the idea, but even if not,
he had to think it could be done and then go do it.
The blue guy just has to try many many combinations unitil he finds one
that is blue. Just because it's the last piece in the puzzle, I don't
think it's Nobel-worthy.
Quite a reasonable question:
I too would think that the original inventor should have been honoured,
not just some fine-tuners along the way...
(Please post followups or tech inquiries to the newsgroup)
John's Jukes Ltd. 2343 Main St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V5T 3C9
H. J. Round discovered electroluminescence with silicon carbide in 1907.
No practical use was found.
I'm sure the when committee evaluated wrist watches and calculators with
red-led displays, they realized red LED's had no practical use.
The most important part of the Nobel Prize is the banquet. The most
important aspect of the banquet is the color of the lighting. Blue was
what they'd been missing.
Dr. Roland Haitz deserves the prize. His law made it mandatory to double
the light output of LED's every 36 months.
If anyone still believes the Nobel Prize committee knows *anything* about
prize-worthiness after Obama snagged a peace prize, then they deserve a
Nobel prize for gullibility. The (A)cademy of (S)wedish (S)cience is still
apologizing for Alf's unleashing dynamite on the world.
FWIW, a Russian really invented the LED in 1942.
On Wednesday, October 15, 2014 1:05:20 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
I'd say the credibility of the whole process went out the window
when they awarded the peace prize to Yassar Arafat decades earlier.
As to the LED award, I guess it depends on what new ground it took
to get to the blue LED. Micky speculates that it was just trial
and error. I suspect it was a lot more than that. And if they did
some pioneering work in unlocking some more knowledge of physics,
then I can see it being justified.
This is a repair question?
They are judging on impact. The LED was around for some years, expensive
and a lab curiosity, and then in the early seventies we were able to buy
them as surplus. Not very bright, but even about the same time as we
could get red LEDs cheap, there were green and orange and yellow. A neat
thing, but they weren't a radical change. Anything you could do with
LEDs could be done with incandescent light bulbs. Lots of things get
invented, and don't win a Nobel Prize.
And the decades went by, finally a blue LED. That was neat, started all
kinds of talk about RGB LEDs to make tv sets or other displays. I remember
how bright those blue ones were even when they'd filtered down to the
hobby market. Suddenly, you could use LEDs as flashlights, if you could
live with blue. I don't know if they affected what had come before, but
suddenly you could also get easily high light output red LEDs.
It's worth pointing out that it took a long time for blue LEDs to come
along because it wasn't a matter of minor changes to LEDs to get differetn
colors (or at least not after the initial orange/green/yellow), but a
different process. It was a case of having to start from scratch.
And then not that much later, white LEDs, as someone pointed out, they
happened because blue were available and were the foundation of white
So suddenly we could have flashlights that were "normal" light, and no
more flashlights that didn't work when they were needed because the
And a whole lot more development happened as a result. There was limited
use for high light output red or green LEDs, but a lot of use for high
output white LEDs. Whole different design, not the packaged LEDs as we
know it, but a different package so the LED could be heatsinked and they
didn't need the lens in the package to get more light output (or direct
the light). So no more need for that long extension cord when you need
that trouble light, this thing is bright enough to temporarily blind you
if you look at it suddenly in the dark.
Wham, no more CFL bulbs in monitors, just white LEDs for the backlight,
longer life and probably lower current drain.
And then LED bulbs to replace incandescent and more recently CFL bulbs.
They seem to work better than the CFLs, but they certainly use less
current for the same light output as incandescent. So that will impact on
things in the long run, lower demands for electricity in the home, or in
places where there really isn't electricity, real electric lighting that
can be powered off a battery and solar cells to recharge it.
They are looking at the big picture.
There was a lot more to it than just "try many combinations".
Here is a link to a story that tells why blue the blue LED
was a real break through.
Yes, it took a long time to find blue. When were LEDs invented? By the
late sixties, at least, and maybe early sixties, taking some time to come
to production. Blue arrived in the mid or late eighties. So even if they
were just trying everything at random, that's a long time to find
something that did go blue.
I agree with Bill on this one. The Nobel Prize in Physics isn't given
out because these physicists were lucky enough to come up with an energy
efficient LED that emits blue light. It was given out because they
figured out how they could make an LED that would emit blue light, and
that new understanding of how LEDs work will lead to further advancement
of LED technology.
That is, the Nobel in Physics isn't given out for something that's just
a commercial success, like the Frizbee or the Hula Hoop. It's given out
for work that advances the understanding of a subject in a significant
But, since the Nobel Committee can't tell what new developments will
arise from this new understanding of how LED's work, the prize is
strictly for the production of a blue LED. If someone else uses this
new understanding of LED's to find a way to make LED's emit different
colour lights in response to a binary voltage signal being fed into
them, or uses this new understanding of how LED's work to make an LED
that produces voltages in response to being exposed to different colour
light, that could possibly qualify for another Nobel Prize because of
the applications those might have on fiber optics and fiber optic
> late eighties. So even if they were just trying everything at random,
> that's a long time to find something that did go blue.
No. Trying different rare earths at random until they stumbled upon a
combination that emitted blue light would not be worthy of a Nobel
Prize. It would not even be worthy of the term "science".
Doing that would not increase our understanding of WHY that particular
combination emitted blue light.
The Nobel committee reviews nominations from thousands of scientiest who
are each individually leaders in their particular field of expertise,
and scrutenizes them intensely. For every award they give out they look
at how the achievement will impact the existing scientific understanding
and technology in that field. Awards are given out for those
achievements that most advance our understanding of the science
Stumbling upon a way to make a blue LED without knowing why the light is
blue would be akin to having a thousand chimpanzees randomly typing at
typewriters for a thousand years until one of them, be sheer fluke,
typed out the chemical reactions involved in photosynthesis. The result
would be excellent, but there would be no understanding involved, and
that's the key to any advancement of any science. What the chimp did
could not even be considered an "achievement" since he didn't even know
what he was doing. Nobel prizes aren't given out like Bingo winnings.
For the record, the original statement about chimpanzees was not about
1000 but about an infinitie number of chimpanzees on an infinite number
of typewriters, and it was a statement out the nature of infinity.
I think green was second.
NASA had a thing with control panels for spacecraft. Red was always a
warning, green was ok, until the red led came out, things sort of got
confusing. The green took some time before it became reality.
After blue came out me and other audio equipment manufacturers started
putting blue indicators because it was brand new, and looked cool and
Well, sort of. The Nobel is a political award, as evidenced by giving
to Yassir Arafat an aging ex-terrorist. The blue improvement was
incremental compared to making LEDs the first time. Also just look at
what body controls the awards.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.