June 18, 2006 The world’s most lucrative technology award, the Millennium Technology Prize, has been awarded to Professor Shuji Nakamura. Nakamura was awarded the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize, including a cash component of one million euros, for his work in developing new sources of light – bright-blue, green and white LEDs and blue lasers. Professor Nakamura’s work has launched a totally-new sector in light-producing semiconductor research, made possible the widescale industrial production of efficient, energy-saving LED lights and created the conditions for applications that improve the quality of human life. His blue lasers have enabled the next generation of optical storage (BluRay and HD-DVD), his LED work has enabled highly efficient lighting systems suitable for significantly reducing consumption of the world’s resources, and his work with ultraviolet LEDs could enable far cheaper and more efficient water purification processes to provide the third world with its most needed commodity (sadly, safe water). Nakamura’s win is also significant in that a significant body of his work related to a high profile patent dispute that challenged the Japanese tradition of selfless devotion to employers.
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