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Shuji Nakamura

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research

Discover USC Welcomes Inaugural Keynote Speaker, Nobel Laureate Shuji Nakamura

The inaugural Discover USC showcase event will proudly host Nobel Laureate, Shuji Nakamura, as the inaugural keynote speaker on Friday, April 21, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Nakamura, an electrical engineer, earned the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics recognizing his “invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.”

Shuji Nakamura, blazed an unconventional trail to success. Unlike the scientists with whom he collaborated, and who shared the award with him, Nakamura worked in industry, rather than academia and leveraged his LED research to earn a Ph.D. after he made his world-changing breakthrough. His grit, dedication, willingness to take calculated risks, and amazing, hard-won skills in experimentation and hand-building of tools and equipment prepared him to turn his ideas into realities.

Like many students who go on to achieve great things, Dr. Nakamura did not excel at school as a youngster, but what he lacked in patience for rote learning, he made up in curiosity, perseverance and skills in making things by hand. After completing his master’s-degree studies, Dr. Nakamura joined a small company, Nichia, where he carved out a place for himself as a product developer, and set an ambitious goal: to develop the bright blue LED technology that had eluded scientists for years. Through years of hard work, he achieved his goal in 1993. His success was humanity’s gain as his blue LED breakthrough paved the way for development of the white LEDs that provide affordable, efficient lighting vital to developing nations, among other high-impact advances.

Nakamura is now the Cree Chair in Solid State Lighting and Displays at the University of California Santa Barbara and Research Director for the school’s Solid State Lighting and Energy Electronics Center.

Vice President for Research, Prakash Nagarkatti says, “Shuji Nakamura is the perfect choice for Discover USC’s inaugural keynote speaker because he embodies the perseverance, creativity and focus required to make scientific breakthroughs. His unique path to the Nobel Prize will be inspiring to undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty alike, as it reminds everyone that success comes with following your instincts, dedicating yourself to your work and rising to meet the challenges that inevitably arise when pursuing a worthwhile endeavor.”

Dr. Asif Khan, a Carolina Distinguished Professor and LED researcher at USC’s College of Engineering and Computing, who has known Dr. Shuji Nakamura for over 25 years says, “It will be both a personal and professional honor to welcome Dr. Shuji Nakamura, my friend and colleague, to USC in April. His expertise in LED technology perfectly complements the strong interest at USC and South Carolina in LED technology, which has resulted in two thriving ultraviolet LED companies here in the Palmetto State.”

Nakamura’s visit to USC is proudly sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

10 February 2017

Discover USC, Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research