Nick Holonyak, Jr.
Born November 3, 1928
First LED in the Visual Spectrum
Patent #: 3,249,473
Nick Holonyak invented the first III-V alloy visible light-emitting diodes (LEDs), today commonly found in applications ranging from traffic lights to consumer electronics.
Born in Zeigler Illinois, Holonyak attended the University of Illinois where he studied under his mentor NIHF Inductee John Bardeen, the two-time Nobel Prize winner for inventing the transistor and explaining superconductivity. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering as Bardeen’s first student and went on to work for Bell Laboratories, serve in the military, and join the Advanced Semiconductor Laboratory of the General Electric Co. in 1957 where he made key contributions to the field of advanced semiconductor devices.
In 1963, Holonyak joined the University of Illinois faculty. Through his career, Holonyak has received numerous awards and is one of a handful of Americans to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology.