News Local/State

LED Inventor Honored by Gov. Quinn


Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday honored world-renowned physicist Nick Holonyak, Jr, who is the inventor of the first practical light-emitting diode, or LED.

Gov. Quinn issued an official proclamation, naming the day, “Nick Holonyak Day.”

The LED is used is everything from powering flashlights, bike tail lights, CD and DVD players, and even spacecrafts.

As Gov. Quinn told a crowd at the University of Illinois on Wednesday, the technology also serves another important role.

“We have to be sustainable," Quinn said. "LED technology is so important to that. We changed the lighting in the governor’s mansion to (Holonyak's) technology, LED technology.”

It was fifty years ago when Holonyak, who was then a consulting scientist at General Electric, demonstrated the first visible LED. He said the opportunities for the technology are endless.

"How far can we go with this to expand it, develop it, carry it further," Holonyak said. "The question keeps coming up, ‘How many possibilities are there?’ God only knows.”

Holonyak joined the U of I faculty in 1963, and currently holds more than 40 patents.