Shuji Nakamura
Shuji Nakamura

Shuji Nakamura, a pioneer in sustainable energy technology, has won the 2019 Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy from the University of Louisville. The prize recognizes outstanding renewable energy ideas and achievements with proven global impact.

Nakamura will give a free, public talk about his work on Monday, April 18, 2022, at 4 pm at Rauch Planetarium. The talk also will be livestreamed on the Conn Center YouTube page and will be available on the channel after the event.

Nakamura, recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics and a University of California-Santa Barbara materials professor, is recognized for scientific innovations and commercialization of efficient solid-state light-emitting diodes (LEDs). His LEDs have revolutionized electronics and lighting at more than 10 times the efficiency of incandescent lighting, more than twice the efficiency of fluorescents and a durability of 30 to 40 years. His innovations have enabled efficient use of energy, reduced the burden on the environment and helped create sustainable lighting worldwide.

Solid-state lighting and electronics are estimated to save $98 billion in cumulative energy consumption by 2030 in the United States, or the energy equivalent of 30 1-gigawatt power plants. Worldwide, the effects are five times greater.

“Dr. Nakamura is a world-class scientist dedicated to the viability of LED technologies. His work and perseverance are inspiration to us all. The University of Louisville celebrates his research and its positive influence. In a world where energy use must be environmentally responsible, he is an outstanding winner of the Leigh Ann Conn Prize,” said Neeli Bendapudi, president of UofL at the time the award was announced.

The Leigh Ann Conn Prize for Renewable Energy includes a medal, $50,000 and a series of campus events, including the public lecture and research meetings with faculty, staff and students. Administered by UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the prize is named for the late daughter of Hank and Rebecca Conn, who are center supporters and the prize benefactors.

“The impact of Dr. Nakamura’s work is massive and exactly what Leigh Ann thought mattered most — What good is innovation if it never changes the world?” Hank Conn said. “LED lighting touches people in all economic strata, saving energy and money with global reach. It is exciting to recognize this outstanding scientist, his innovations and their translation into clearly impactful technology.”