Millennium prize goes to solid-state lighting pioneer

HELSINKI, FINLAND-Shuji Nakamura was presented the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize for his invention of new sources of light.

HELSINKI, FINLAND-Shuji Nakamura was presented the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize for his invention of new sources of light. The prize of $1.27 million dollars (1 million euros) and a trophy was presented to Nakamura by Finland’s president, Tarja Halonen, during a ceremony in Helsinki on September 8. According to Nakamura, the world has only just begun to explore the vast number of opportunities presented by applications using LEDs and lasers.

As LEDs can be powered by solar panels, lighting can be provided in remote areas of developing countries. In his speech, Nakamura said he will be donating part of the prize money to organizations that promote the use of LED lighting in such locations.

Dr. Jaakko Ihamuotila, Chairman of the Millennium Prize Foundation, noted that sustainable energy supplies, climate change, and the availability of clean water are challenges that touch us all. “New technologies are essential in the search for solutions,” he said. “It is in this spirit that the Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every second year to an innovator who has developed new technology that significantly improves the quality of human life and promotes sustainable development.”

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