Nobel laureate Nakamura grateful to ex-employer

Nobel laureate Nakamura grateful to ex-employer
Japanese-born U.S. citizen Shuji Nakamura laughs as he listens to speakers at a news conference at SORAA, the company he co-founded, a day after winning the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics, in Fremont, California October 8, 2014.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics this year, expressed gratitude to Nichia Corp., the company he worked for when he developed blue light-emitting diodes, for its contribution in popularizing LEDs.

After Nakamura left the company in 1999, he filed a lawsuit against Nichia over the blue LED patent. He succeeded in commercializing the blue LED as an employee of the company, based in Anan, Tokushima Prefecture.

Nevertheless, Nakamura said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday: "I think Nichia played a great part in contributing to the spread of LEDs. Nichia is still a top company in LED production, and I won the Nobel Prize thanks to the firm."

He is in Japan to receive the Order of Culture, which was awarded Monday.

Nakamura said he made a direct plea to Nobuo Ogawa, Nichia's founder, who died in 2002, to develop blue LEDs. Nakamura said he would like to thank Ogawa in front of his tomb for accepting his appeal.

In developing blue LEDs, the teachings of Osamu Tada, professor emeritus at Tokushima University, were very helpful, Nakamura said.

"When I was a student at Tokushima University, Tada told me, 'Use your body to make things,'" Nakamura said. "After I joined the company, I realised he was absolutely right. Tada helped me develop LEDs as I was able to borrow the equipment I needed from the university because it was not available at Nichia."

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