UC Santa Barbara professor and Nobel Laureate Shuji Nakamura is adding yet another accolade to his long list of honors: election to the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is one of only four International Fellows selected by the United Kingdom’s national academy of engineering for 2019, and joins 50 new members selected from within the U.K.
“I’m pleased and proud to be elected an International Fellow of such a prestigious organization as the Royal Academy of Engineering,” said Nakamura, a professor in the departments of materials and of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara, and the research director for the campus’s Solid State Lighting & Energy Electronics Center. “This honor continues to highlight the critical importance of advancing energy efficiency through breakthrough technologies such as solid state lighting.”
A winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, Nakamura is known for his work in the invention of the bright-blue LED. The innovation was key to the creation of the white LED, which, thanks to its low power consumption, versatility and durability, has revolutionized lighting and energy efficiency around the globe. He continues to improve on gallium nitride (GaN) technology — on which his blue LED is based — by focusing his research on the growth of bulk GaN crystals and also on GaN thin films.
“I am proud and honored to congratulate Professor Nakamura on his well-deserved election to the Royal Academy of Engineering,” said UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “The global impact of his LED inventions, from energy-efficient lighting and displays to optical storage to innovative medical applications, is too great to quantify. His election to the Royal Academy recognizes not only his leadership in advancing the frontiers of science and technology, but also the humanitarian contributions he has made to our world.”
Nakamura joins materials and mechanical engineering professors Robert McMeeking and Anthony Evans as the third UC Santa Barbara engineering professor elected to the Royal Academy.
“Our Fellows are at the heart of all Academy activities and I am delighted to welcome these highly successful, creative and inspiring engineering leaders to the Fellowship,” said Professor Dame Ann Dowling, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering. “There has never been a more important time for the Academy to advance and promote excellence in engineering so that the engineering profession can continue to contribute to societal wellbeing and economic growth.”
Nakamura has received numerous awards for his work since he joined the UC Santa Barbara faculty in 2000, including the Zayed Future Energy Prize (2018), the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award, the Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering, the Global Energy Prize, the Eagle on the World Award, the Asia Game Changer Award (2015), the Harvey Award (2009), the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical Scientific Research (2008), the Czochralski Award (2007), the Millennium Technology Prize (2006), and the Benjamin Franklin Medal (2002).
Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015, Nakamura also is a fellow of the United States’ National Academy of Engineering and of the National Academy of Inventors, as well as the recipient of the 2014 Order of Culture Award in Japan.
Additionally, Nakamura holds more than 200 U.S. patents and more than 175 Japanese patents and has published more than 550 papers in his field.
Established in 1976, the Royal Academy of Engineering brings together eminent and distinguished members of all disciplines in its efforts to promote engineering excellence for the benefit of society. The members of the academy’s fellowship are elected, drawn half from industry and half from academia, and have grown in number to 1,591, including Emeritus, International and Honorary.