Business News | Sep 12, 2006

President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen presents the Millennium Technology Prize to Professor Shuji Nakamura: ”Using LEDs for lighting could halve the amount of electricity consumed for this purpose.”

The 2006 Millennium Technology Prize was presented to Professor Shuji Nakamura in Helsinki for his invention of new sources of light. President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen handed Professor Nakamura the prize of one million euros and ”Peak”, the prize trophy.

In his speech of thanks, Professor Nakamura congratulated Finland on its support for humane technological development which improves quality of life.

According to Professor Nakamura, we have only just begun to explore the vast number of opportunities presented by applications using LEDs and lasers. ”I hope the award of this prize will help people to understand that this invention makes it possible to improve quality of life for many millions of people. This is not just a source of light that makes enormous energy savings possible, it is also an innovation that can be used in the sterilisation of drinking water and for storing data in much more efficient ways.”

As LEDs can be powered by solar panels, lighting can be provided in remote areas of developing countries. In his speech, Professor Nakamura said that he will be donating part of the prize money to organizations that promote the use of LED lighting in such locations. A portion of the money would be donated to the Light Up the World Foundation. The Light Up the World Foundation is a humanitarian organization based in Canada, which is dedicated to bringing safe, affordable, and efficient lighting to an estimated 2 billion people worldwide who do not have access to adequate lighting. According to the organization, merchant and micro-credit initiatives make it possible for the poor to obtain products at the same cost as their present monthly lighting fuel bills. When the foundation gives someone adequate lighting for their home, people can have a time and place to begin a process of educating themselves beyond their farm work jobs which often last from sunup to sundown.

Dr. Jaakko Ihamuotila, Chairman of the Millennium Prize Foundation, says that sustainable energy supplies, climate change and the availability of clean water are challenges that touch us all. “New technologies are essential in the search for solutions,” says Dr. Ihamuotila. “It is in this spirit that the Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every second year to an innovator who has developed new technology that significantly improves the quality of human life and promotes sustainable development.”

Professor Nakamura will be in Finland until Wednesday 13th September to meet
Finnish researchers, company representatives and members of the public. At 11 a.m. on Saturday 9 September, he will speak to the Millennium Youth Forum in the Finnish Science Centre Heureka. In the same location at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Professor Nakamura will make a public presentation on the subject of LED technology. On Monday 11 September at 9.30 a.m. in the Dipoli Congress Centre, Professor Nakamura will make an in-depth presentation to technologists and other professionals. This event is also open to the public.

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