U of I celebrates 50th anniversary of LED lights


CHAMPAIGN – It's an invention that has changed the world – light-emitting diodes, or LED lights.  And it all started in Illinois 50 years ago.

People of all ages were at the University of Illinois' Illini Hall Monday celebrating LED lights' 50th birthday with its original inventor.

Nick Holonyak, 83, is known across the world as the father of the visible LED light.  He made the discovery at the University of Illinois back in 1962.

Holonyak is from Southern Illinois, and he's known as one of the greatest scientists the university has seen.

But he told WAND that he didn't think it would take so long for his invention to catch on.

"I knew it was gonna happen, but I didn't know when and how," Holonyak said, thinking it would only take ten or 20 years to gain popularity.

"Who knew it would take 50," said Holonyak.  "But now it's happening with a vehemence.  It's beginning to make a real big impact."

10.. 20 years.. who knew it would take 50. But now it's happening with a vehemence... It's beginning to make real big impact"

Holonyak calls LEDs "the ultimate lamp."  It's instant light and requires no heat, unlike typical lightbulbs.

LEDs also use 75% less power than normal lights.

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