Professor Shuji Nakamura will receive the NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science


‘For Pioneering Discoveries’

Shuji Nakamura to be honored by the National Academy of Sciences
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 05:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Once in a great while a technology becomes so ubiquitous that it transforms modern life. Such has been the case for LED lighting — efficient, durable, versatile, and now found in everything from flexible displays and cellphone screens to standard indoor, outdoor and automotive lighting.

Making the LED lighting revolution possible is Shuji Nakamura, a professor of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara. His work perfecting the Gallium nitride (GaN)-based bright-blue LED was the missing piece that completed the spectrum, allowing white LEDs to become a reality and replace less efficient light bulbs. That, in turn, greatly reduced power usage and heat generated by lighting applications.

For “pioneering discoveries, synthesis and commercial development of Gallium nitride LEDs and their use in sustainable solid-state light sources, which are reducing global greenhouse gas emissions while also reducing costs to those adopting this technology,” Nakamura has been selected to receive the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2020 Award for the Industrial Application of Science. Presented triennially, the award, which this year focuses on sustainability, “recognizes applications in industry of significant achievements in science.”

News from the National Academy of Sciences

January 22, 2020


Academy Honors 15 for Major Contributions to Science

WASHINGTON — The National Academy of Sciences will honor 15 individuals with awards in recognition of their extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide range of fields spanning the physical, biological, and medical sciences.

Shuji Nakamura, University of California, Santa Barbara, will receive the NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science for pioneering energy-efficient LED lighting. This year’s award is presented in sustainability with a $25,000 prize.

The winners will be honored in a ceremony on Sunday, April 26, during the National Academy of Sciences' 157th annual meeting.

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine — provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

Molly Galvin
Director, Executive Communications
Office of News and Public Information
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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UCSB Press Release:

See NAS Press Release:

2020 NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science

Semiconductor Today:

Photo by Randy Lamb, UCSB
Photo by Randy Lamb, UCSB