WASHINGTON – The U.S. National Academy of Engineering said Tuesday it has honored five scientists for their contribution to the development of light-emitting diodes, including the 2014 Nobel physics prize laureates Isamu Akasaki and Shuji Nakamura.
The academy said they will give the five pioneer LED developers the Draper Prize “in recognition of the significant benefit to society created by the initial development and commercialization of LED technologies 20 years ago.”
Nick Holonyak, a former scientist at General Electric Co., created the first red LED in 1962, according to the academy.
Akasaki, a professor of Meijo University in Japan, first developed the blue LED in 1989 and Nakamura, a Japan-born American professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, invented “the first high-brightness blue LED in 1994, which led to the development of Blu-ray technology, it said.
The academy also recognized George Craford, a U.S. corporate electric engineer, for creating the yellow LED, and Russell Dupuis, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, for invention of the technology that is the basis of high-brightness LEDs.
The $500,000 prize, widely known as the “Nobel Prize of engineering,” will be divided among the five recipients and the awarding ceremony will take place Feb. 24 in Washington.