University of Calgary

Inventor shares prize

Inventor share prizes with Light Up The World

By Kirk Thurbide

The inventor of the technology used by the Light Up The World Foundation has donated part of a recent international prize to the humanitarian organization based at the University of Calgary.

When Dr. Shuji Nakamura, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the inventor of the White Light Emitting Diode, won Finland’s Millennium Technology Prize in September for his continuing efforts to make cheaper and more efficient light sources, he vowed to donate part of the prize money to organizations that promote the use of LED lighting.

“I hope the award of this prize will help people to understand that this invention makes it possible to improve the quality of life for many millions of people,” he says.
The Millennium, the world’s largest technology prize, is worth one million euros and is awarded every second year.

In a recent visit to the University of Calgary, Nakamura presented an undisclosed amount to Dr. Dave Irvine-Halliday, founder of the LUTW foundation and a professor in the Schulich School of Engineering.

“He sees Light Up The World doing what he wanted done with his white LED in the first place,” says Irvine-Halliday.

The LUTW foundation provides communities in developing nations with an inexpensive source of light and electricity using the ultra-efficient, solar-powered white light emitting diode lighting systems.

Nakamura’s donation will be split—with 70 percent going to the LUTW foundation and 30 percent to support Dr. Irvine-Halliday’s solid state lighting laboratory.

 “One solid state lighting system costs about as much as many families spend annually on kerosene lamp lighting and since these systems last roughly 20 to 25 years, the impact is tremendous for families in these remote rural areas,” he says.

Irvine-Halliday hopes this donation will open the door for future collaborations with UC Santa Barbara.

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