Silicon Valley Enterpreneur Wins Nobel Prize

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur, along with two other scientists, won the Nobel Prize for physics for creating a blue light emitting diode, or LED lights.

Shuji Nakamura, a founder of the Fremont, Calif.-based Soraa, was one of three scientists who won the Nobel Prize for his work with LED, according to the Wall Street Journal. In 1990, he was paid approximately $180 by his Japanese company, Nichia Corp., for discovering and patenting  blue LED.

"People in the U.S. often asked if I got paid like hundreds of millions of yen or billions of yen," he told the WSJ in an interview. "When I told them my salary, they called me 'Slave Nakamura.'

Nakamura left Japan and moved to the United States in 1999. By 2001, he sued his old company and was awarded 840 million yen, or about $7.8 million using today's conversion rates -- not bad considering the company expected to reach $1 billion in revenue from the invention. 

Nakamura went on to become a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and founded Soraa with two of his colleagues. With Soraa, Nakamura continues his research with LED technology.
"I am very honored to receive the Nobel Prize from he Royal Swedish Academy of Science for my invention of the blue LED," Nakamura said in a statement released by Soraa. "It is very satisfying to see that my dream of LED lighting has become a reality. I hope that energy-efficient LED light bulbs will help reduce energy use and lower the cost of lighting worldwide, and that is why we founded Soraa."
Contact Us