The 2014 Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry have been awarded, one for the ubiquitous LED light, and the other for the invention of a new way of seeing microscopic processes in action.
Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of the Nagoya University in Japan and Japanese-born U.S. citizen Shuji Nakamura, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the blue light-emitting diode (LED) — the missing piece that now allows manufacturers to produce white-light lamps. The arrival of such lamps is changing the way homes and workplaces are lit, offering a longer-lasting and more efficient alternative to the incandescent bulbs pioneered by Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison at the end of the 19th century.
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to physicists Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., Stefan W. Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Germany), and William E. Moerner of Stanford University for their work in overcoming the limitations of the traditional light microscope. The three men honoured by this Nobel Prize contributed to super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, which allows us to see everything from DNA transference in action to the changes that neurons go through as we learn something new.
For more information, please visit the official website of the Nobel Prize, www.nobelprize.org.
Sources: Nobel.org, Scientific American, Reuters.