UCSB Inventor Gets $1.3M Millennium Technology Prize

A University of California, Santa Barbara professor has received $1.3M in the prestigious Millennium Technology Prize for his invention of blue, green, and white light emitting diodes (LEDs). Professor Shuji Nakamura was awarded the prize for 2006, the world's biggest technology award. The award is presented by Finland's Millennium Prize Foundation, which looks to recognize outstanding technological achievement aimed at promoting quality of life and sustainable development. The award is the second for the prize, which was awarded in 2004 to Tim Berners-Lee for his development of the World Wide Web. Nakamura is a professor of materials and electrical and computer engineering at UCSB's College of Engineering. Nakamura is known for his invention of the blue LED, and a subsequent battle with his former employer, Nichia Corp., over failure to compensate Nakamura for the invention. Nakamura won a patent settlement from Nichia in early 2005, highlighting Japan's lack of rewards for innovative scientists and engineers. Nakamura joined the UCSB faculty in 2000. He will be presented the prize by the President of Finland at a ceremony in Helsinki on September 8th.