OSA | Living History

Shuji Nakamura

OSA Awards & Distinctions



Shuji Nakamura was born on May 22, 1954 in Ehime, Japan. He obtained B.E., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tokushima, Japan in 1977, 1979, and 1994, respectively. He joined Nichia Chemical Industries Ltd in 1979. In 1988, he spent a year at the University of Florida as a visiting research associate.

Since 2000, he has been a professor of Materials and Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds more than 200 US patents and over 175 Japanese patents. He has published over 550 papers in his field. Prof. Nakamura is the Research Director of the Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center and The Cree Chair in Solid State Lighting & Displays. He co-founded Soraa, Inc. in 2008, which operates vertically integrated fabrication facilities in California’s Silicon Valley and Santa Barbara.

His work with LEDs has enabled the development of Blu-Ray DVD’s and a wide range of other technologies. His development of the white LED is what is used today in lieu of incandescent bulbs in many applications.

Nakamura has received numerous awards for his work, including the Nishina Memorial Award, the Materials Research Society Medal Award, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Jack A. Morton Award, the British Rank Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal Award, the Millennium Technology Prize, the Czochralski Award, the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research, The Harvey Award, and the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award awarded by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). He is the 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physics for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources. Prof. Nakamura is a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of the 2014 Order of Culture Award in Japan, the 2015 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering, the 2015 Global Energy Prize, and the 2018 Zayed Future Energy Prize. He received OSA’s Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award in 2001.

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Document Created: 11 Feb 2020
Last Updated: 11 Feb 2020