Scientists From Around the World Gather at U of I to Honor Southern Illinois Man Credited with Inventing LED Technology

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Published on October 25 2012 6:35 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Wayne Moran

Scientists from all over the world gathered at a symposium in Champaign yesterday to honor the man that invented LED technology. Nick Holonyak developed the technology 50 years ago. Governor Pat Quinn was on hand to declare the day in Holonyak's honor.

The governor says the invention has changed the world. Another scientist speaking at the event predicted that in the next 20 years, LEDs will dominate the lighting industry. M. George Craford says that in three years, half of all new light fixtures will be based on LED technology. He says the lights can last for about a decade, and that while the costs are high for homeowners right now, they'll come down quickly.

The Zeigler, Illinois born Holonyak invented the first practically useful visible LED in 1962 while working as a consulting scientist at a GE laboratory in Syracuse, New York and has been called "the father of the light-emitting diode". Holonyak's parents were Ukrainian immigrants who settled in Southern Illinois

Holonyak was a 1954 graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. He received his undergraduate, master's, and Ph.D., all from the U of I.

He created the first visible semiconductor lasers in 1960, and currently runs a transistor laser research center at the University of Illinois, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.