After the brain’s GPS system that explains how neurons in the hippocampus possess ‘place fields’ that fire when an animal is in a particular part of its environment let the brain know where the animal is hence enable it to navigate within the surroundings that was discovered by John O´Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, it was time for the Physicists of the year to be awarded with the grand prize – the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.
As the sound of Physics would have it, a rather highly technical and mysteriously sounding inventions or discoveries like “experimental research on the quantum spin hall effect and topological insulators”, “the detection of neutrino oscillations”, or even something touching on the “decoherence and the no-cloning theorem, which forbids the creation of identical copies of an unknown quantum state, with critical implications for quantum computing, quantum teleportation” were expected to win.
But as Scientific American would have it the “selection committees” that decides who wins a Nobel Prize in any given category “work in mysterious and unpredictable ways”. They didn’t give the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics to any of those rigor or robust sounding mysterious terminologies but rather awarded the prize to “Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for their discovery of blue light-emitting diodes(LEDs), which have enabled modern energy-efficient light sources”.
What that means is that your energy saver bulb that uses LED technology has won the most prestigious award in Physics this year, and as a user of that device you have a reason to feel proud. This is why the work of Isamu, Hiroshi and Shuji in creating the blue LED is important as reported by CNN:
Red and green diodes had been around for years. But when the three created the blue diodes in the early 1990s, only then could the white lamps that glow from every corner of our world be created. For 30 years, scientists had tried to create the blue diode. “They triggered a fundamental transformation of lighting technology,” the committee said. “They succeeded where everyone else failed.” LED lights last longer and are more efficient than regular light bulbs and fluorescent lamps.
Last year’s award did not go to such an invention useful in our day to day lives but rather to the guys who predicted that there must be some tiny, very tiny thing that gives matter mass – the God’s particle or rather the Higgs Boson. The award to Peter Higgs and his colleague Francois Englert was given after scientists at CERN confirmed that indeed the tiny God’s particle exists.
Hopefully now that the LED bulbs have been recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee in Physics everyone not yet using the technology to light their homes, offices, factories and streets (the county governments, are you listening?) will abandon the environmentally unfriendly florescence, neon or other energy consuming bulbs for the efficient LED technology.