This year's Nobel prize for physics went to three scientists who helped to perfect LED lights. Red and green LEDs have been around for years, but it wasn't until we had blue LEDs (developed in the early 1990s) that we were able to produce LEDs for general home and business lighting. In other words, there are no "white" LEDs, but we can adapt blue LEDs for this purpose.
The question remains, should these scientists have received the award without development of the first (red) LED also being recognized? This was developed by Nick Holonyak, Jr., in 1962. Without it, the blue LED may well have not been invented. In fact, according to Holonyak (now 85 and living in an assisted-living facility), it could not have been developed without his work.
He hasn't been bitter about never receiving this prize for the LED, but felt that the blue LED being recognized apart from his original work was insulting.
In one sense, this is akin to Thomas Edison being recognized for "inventing" the light bulb when in fact he didn't invent it, but made it practical as a lighting source. This certainly deserves merit, but does it deserve the entire merit?
So what do you think? Should the Nobel prize have been awarded only to those who developed the blue LED and made LED lighting practical as a lighting source? Should the original LED work also have been recognized? And does it make a difference that the original work was done so long ago? In other words, had it been done more recently, should it have been recognized, but not when it was done so long ago?
(P.S. There's also this interesting article that discusses a blue LED that may have been made 20 years before the one being recognized by the Nobel prize!)
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