Born: 28 November 1928
Best Known as: inventor of the first III-V alloy visible LEDs
Nick Holonyak invented the first light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are used in many practical applications, including traffic lights and consumer electronics. Holonyak's research in optoelectronics has revolutionized the lighting, communications, and entertainment industries. Born in Zeigler Illinois, Holonyak studied electrical engineering at the University of Illinois where he was mentored by John Bardeen, a two-time Nobel Prize winner. Nick Holoynak worked at Bell Labs, the Advanced Semiconductor Laboratory of the General Electric Co., and in 1963, he joined the University of Illinois faculty. He is one of only a few Americans to win both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology.