Millennium Technology Prize for Professor Shuji Nakamura

June 15, 2006


Dear Colleagues:

I am very excited and honored to share with you the news that the Millennium Prize Foundation of Finland announced this morning that Professor Shuji Nakamura in our College of Engineering is the sole winner of the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize, accompanied by one million euros (about $1.3 million in U.S. dollars).

The Millennium Technology Prize was founded by the Millennium Prize Foundation of Finland, and is bestowed every other year by the President of the Republic of Finland. It is described by the Foundation as "the world's largest technology prize." The inaugural Millennium Technology Prize was presented in June 2004 to the developer of the World Wide Web.

I invite you to join us for a press conference today at 1 p.m. in Room 1001 of our Engineering Sciences Building. This will be an opportunity to learn more about Professor Nakamura's research, and to join our campus community in celebrating this special honor for our colleague.

Professor Nakamura is known around the world as the inventor of the blue laser diode and white, green, and blue LEDs. His work has revolutionized the semiconductor industry, and has applications to a broad range of interdisciplinary areas, from information and communication to energy and the environment to health care and life sciences. For example, white LEDs provide long-lasting, energy-efficient solid state lighting that can be operated by a battery powered by a solar cell in the daytime and used to bring light in the nighttime to places that have never seen electric light. Ultraviolet LEDs are being used to purify drinking water. Blue LEDs are being used to light up everything from cell-phone displays to the eight-story-high Nasdaq display in New York City's Times Square.

The vision behind Professor Nakamura's inventions is to ultimately replace traditional incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs with solid state lighting, thereby dramatically reducing the world's electric energy consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and saving billions of dollars in energy costs.

Popular Science magazine called Professor Nakamura "a legend in his own time." Forbes magazine called him "the tamer of nature and successor to Edison." We are proud to call him our colleague. Please come celebrate with us at 1 p.m. in Room 1001 of the Engineering Sciences Building.


Henry T. Yang