A Future Awash in LED Light

The Unexpected Rise of This Bright, Energy-Efficient Lighting Technology Spells the End for Edison’s Incandescent Lamp


The Nobel Prize in Physics just awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura for their work on blue light-emitting diodes—LEDs as they are commonly known—reveals the extent to which lighting technology has changed over the just the last four decades. Since the energy crises of the 1970s, researchers have introduced many new, more efficient light sources, but now all are being replaced thanks in large part to the work of these new Nobel Laureates.

As curator of the electricity collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, part …

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