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Nick Holonyak

AKA Nicholas Holonyak, Jr.

Born: 3-Nov-1928
Birthplace: Zeigler, IL

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Light-emitting diodes

Physicist Nick Holonyak invented the first practical light-emitting diode (LED) in 1962. He also invented the quantum-well laser that became the basis for compact disc players and fiber-optic communications, and designed the earliest versions of the technology underlying household light-dimmer switches. Holonyak studied under Nobel laureate John Bardeen, and also made significant advances in impurity-induced layer disordering, semiconductor materials and devices, silicon-diffused transistor technology, and laser technology. His father was a coal miner and immigrant from Eastern Europe, and Holonyak is the first member of his family to receive a formal education.

Father: Nicholas Holonyak (coal miner)
Wife: Katherine Holonyak (m. 1956, three children)

    High School: Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville, IL (1946)
    University: University of Illinois at Granite City (attended, 1946-47)
    University: BS Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1950)
    University: MS Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1951)
    University: PhD Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1954)
    Professor: Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1963-)

    National Inventors Hall of Fame 2008
    Lemelson-MIT Prize 2004
    IEEE Medal of Honor 2003
    National Medal of Technology and Innovation 2002
    Japan Prize 1995
    National Medal of Science 1990
    IEEE Edison Medal 1989
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Physical Society
    IEEE
    National Academy of Engineering
    National Academy of Sciences
    Optical Society of America
    Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    General Electric
    Bell Laboratories Engineer
    Russian Ancestry Maternal

Author of books:
Semiconductors Controlled Rectifiers (1964)
Physical Properties of Semiconductors (1989, with Gregory Stillman and Charles M. Wolfe)


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