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Sunday, October 19, 2014

#309 Nobel Prize omissions?

I understand that for every Nobel Prize awarded there are dozens, if not hundreds, candidates who were nominated, but not selected for this highly coveted prize. It's unavoidable in the process in which six members of the Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences must select just one accomplishment.


Selecting Nobel Prize worthy accomplishment is one side of the coin. Another is selection of people who contributed to any given groundbreaking achievement. It is not a straightforward task as quite often it involves people who were working on the same idea years apart and, quite often, in the different countries.


Looking back, I don't think I ever had a problem with a selection of a specific scientific accomplishment for the Nobel Prize in physics. The Nobel Prize committee members decide that this is what they want to recognize, and this is it.  On occasion, however, looking at the "semiconductor Nobel Prizes", I would have second thoughts regarding people missing from the awarded teams.


I can think of two occasions where the omission of specific contributors was somewhat striking. First, it would be a very well deserved recognition of his impact if in 2000 Robert Noyce has been awarded, together with Jack Kilby, a Nobel Prize for the invention of an integrated circuits.
Second, concerns this year (2014) Nobel Prize in Physics (see previous blog) awarded "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources". It would nice to see Nick Holonyak Jr., an inventor of the visible light (red)  LED in 1962, being included  in the team getting a LED related Nobel Prize this year. It was Holonyak who was the first to demonstrate visible light emission from the semiconductor p-n junction later referred to as the Light Emitting Diode (LED). This year award created an excellent opportunity to recognized Holonyak's groundbreaking contribution. 

Posted by Jerzy Ruzyllo at 11:21 AM | Semiconductors | Link is the personal blog of Jerzy Ruzyllo. With over 35 years of experience in academic research and teaching in the area of semiconductor engineering (currently holding position of a Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State University), he has a unique perspective on the developments in this progress driving technical domain and enjoys blogging about it.

With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.

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