Professor Shuji Nakamura's interview on Lighting the Future

Lighting the Future

Jessica Gang, Intern

23 August 2021

Professor Shuji Nakamura’s Nobel Prize-winning invention was the achievement of years of solitary, dedicated research. By Jessica Gang.

On October 7, 2014, Professor Nakamura, Akasaki, and Amano were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of the blue light-emitting diode. UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang called it “a most exciting and joyful day of celebration” for the campus community, adding that since his arrival at UCSB, Professor Nakamura had “been a pioneer of not only a new field of research, but of a scientific revolution.”

While many others in his shoes might see the Nobel Prize as the pinnacle of their career, Professor Nakamura shows no signs of slowing down. He has been the recipient of the 2015 Global Energy Prize, the 2018 Zayed Future Energy Prize, the 2020 National Academy of Science (NAS) Award for the Industrial Application of Science, and the 2021 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, among many others. He holds more than 200 US patents and over 175 Japanese patents, and has published over 730 papers in his field.

In an interview with Brunswick’s Jessica Gang, a recent UCSB alumnus, Professor Nakamura sheds light on how his time at UCSB has shaped his post-Nobel career, what circumstances separate his experience in the US from his past in Japan, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his relationship with his students in unexpected but not altogether unwelcome ways.


Photo by Randall Lamb, UCSB
Photo by Randall Lamb, UCSB