Urbana, IL

Did You Know? LED Lights Were Invented at UIUC

Kimberly Forsythe

Artistic LED light fixture.Pixabay

Champaign/Urbana, IL - Learn something new every day! LED lighting is ubiquitous these days - in our homes, businesses, and even on the street. But what many people don't know is that this technology was actually invented right here at UIUC!

The Queen of England has just awarded a 93-year old UIUC Professor the 2021 QEPrize for Engineering, which is specifically in recognition and honor of his leading work on LED lighting.

Nick Holonyak, Jr. joined UIUC in 1963 as a professor and through the years rose to become the John Bardeen Endowed Chair Emeritus in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics. On December 8, the Prince of Wales presented Holonyak and other winners with gold trophies.

Holonyak's research work has garnered recognition from several organizations, including the National Medal of Technology, presented at the White House by President George W. Bush in 2003. Being the son of an uneducated, immigrant coal miner, these achievements are especially rewarding for Holonyak.

LEDs have revolutionized lighting and continue to play an important role in many aspects of our lives. In addition to their energy efficiency, LED lights are more durable, have a longer lifespan, and are customizable with respect to color, intensity, the direction of light projection/reflection, etc. They are even being used in the medical field.

Additionally, the flexibility in lighting options that LEDs give us has transformed the possibilities for interior and exterior decor. Homeowners can now have complete control over the mood and atmosphere of a room with the flip of a switch. LED lighting can be used to highlight specific features in a room or to create an inviting and relaxing ambiance.

The holiday season, in particular, has been made much safer thanks to LED lights for Christmas decorations. Gone are the days of light bulbs heating up dry Christmas tree branches, leading to dangerous fires. I just want to personally say thank you, Professor Holonyak!

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Champaign, IL

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