香檳大學城有位赫赫有名的發明家Nick Holonyak。1962年發明第一粒紅光二極體（LED，light emitting diodes），這是繼愛迪生發明電燈之後，最重要的燈光科技大躍進。1995年他榮獲日本政府頒贈科學界最高榮耀「日本獎」，應邀與夫人前往東京，接受 日本天皇頒獎的殊榮。頒獎儀式上，他謙稱只想在自己的研究領域散發一點微光。然而在場觀禮的人士無不奉他為科技界的「可見光LED之父」；他發明的紅光二 極體，如天上的繁星，將在世界每個角落散發光芒。
秋高氣爽的夜晚，我們邀請科學家與夫人來寒舍共享龍蝦晚餐，酒過幾巡，談天說笑間，我們的孩子回家了，急切地想看看這位了不起的發明家，迫不及待地詢問 Nick的發明。Nick站起來，用調光器關掉客廳、飯廳、廚房的電燈，屋子一片漆黑，唯有音響、電腦以及家裡其他電器產品上的小燈亮著，如夜空中燦爛的 行星，他指著那些小燈說：「這些燈的元件都是LED做的，將來電燈泡很快也要被取代。」接著他指著調光器說：「那調光器組合配件也是我發明的。」「真的？ 怎麼發明的？何時發明？」容貌細緻如中國瓷器的科學家夫人，敘述了科學家發明調光器的來龍去脈：
「你們可能注意到，Nick平常想東西的時候，喜歡扭轉他的捲髮，你們或許也聽說，Nick每天喜歡泡又長又熱的熱水澡。有天，他躺在浴缸泡澡，一邊扭著 他的捲髮，一邊想著他的實驗和測量，東想想這個液晶，西想想那發光的二極管，突然望著天花板的燈，那燈光太亮了，照得他的眼睛不舒服，他真想把那光線調暗 淡一些，他想著，想著，突然靈光一閃，Eureka！Eureka！Nick差點要從浴缸跳出來。隔天跑到實驗室，開始研究調光器的組合配件。」
Nick的父親是東歐烏克蘭移民，伊利諾州南方煤礦小鎮的工人，含辛茹苦地培植他讀完大學及研究所。Nick是兩度諾貝爾獎約翰．巴丁教授的第一個入門弟 子，巴丁是電晶體的發明人之一，也是低溫超導理論的創始者。Nick兩度進白宮接受兩位布希總統頒獎，並自俄國總統普丁手中領取「全球能源獎」；麻省理工 學院授與Lemelson-MIT發明獎，也是伊利諾州林肯獎的得主，2008年選入美國名人殿堂，集眾多榮耀於一身。你可能以為這位聞名遐邇的發明家一 定忙著四處旅行演講或者主持國際研討會。不，他過著極端規律而簡樸的生活。
去年11月3日Nick行將八十，還沒想到退休，每天風雪無阻，清早準七點搭公車上班，繼續勤勉不倦於研究工作，中午吃個三明治，再繞到大學書店翻閱科技 書籍，順便買一份《紐約時報》。假使你在書店與他不期而遇，他會告訴你正在讀那本書，他會忘情地滔滔不絕講說他的讀書心得，你肯定會被那陶醉於知識之海的 熱忱而感動，讓你感覺人生值得活千百倍。下午二點鐘，他親手研磨烹調咖啡，在辦公室接待客人、學者、記者、專利律師（注：他是大學城擁有最多專利的發明 家）。咖啡時間，最愛的還是與同事、學生談論新觀念、新影片、新發明，談他的學術恩師以及礦工父親。......
|Nick Holonyak, Jr.|
|Born||November 3, 1928 (1928-11-03) |
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;BS 1950, MS 1951, PhD 1954|
|Notable awards||National Academy of Engineering (1973)National Medal of Science (1990),National Medal of Technology (2002), IEEE Medal of Honor (2003), ,Lemelson-MIT Prize(2004), National Inventors Hall of Fame(2008)|
Nick Holonyak Jr. (born in Zeigler, Illinois on November 3, 1928) invented the first visible LED in 1962 while working as a consulting scientist at a General Electric Company laboratory in Syracuse, New York and has been called "the father of the light-emitting diode". He is a John Bardeen Endowed Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics and Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he has been since 1993. 
In addition to introducing the III-V alloy LED, Holonyak holds 41 patents. His other inventions include the red-light semiconductor laser, usually called the laser diode (used in CD and DVD players and cell phones) and the shorted emitter p-n-p-n switch (used in light dimmers and power tools). He helped create the first light dimmer while at GE.
In 2006, the American Institute of Physics decided on the five most important papers in each of its journals since it was founded 75 years ago. Two of these five papers, in the journal Applied Physics Letters, were co-authored by Holonyak. The first one, coauthored with S. F. Bevacqua in 1962, announced the creation of the first visible-light LED. The second, co-authored primarily with Milton Feng in 2005, announced the creation of a transistor laser that can operate at room temperatures. Holonyak predicted that his LEDs would replace the incandescent light bulb of Thomas Edison in the February 1963 issue of Reader's Digest, and as LEDs improve in quality and efficiency they are gradually replacing incandescents as the bulb of choice.
Holonyak's parents were Eastern European immigrants who settled in Southern Illinois; Holonyak's father worked in a coal mine. Holonyak was the first member of his family to receive any type of formal schooling. He once worked 30 straight hours on the Illinois Central Railroad before realizing that a life of hard labor was not what he wanted and he'd prefer to go to school instead. According to Knight Ridder, "The cheap and reliable semiconductor lasers critical to DVD players, bar code readers and scores of other devices owe their existence in some small way to the demanding workload thrust upon Downstate railroad crews decades ago."
Holonyak was John Bardeen's first Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his undergraduate, master's, and Ph.D. (1954) from the same university. He created the first visible semiconductor
University of Illinois
As of 2007, he is the John Bardeen Endowed Chair Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is investigating methods for manufacturing quantum dot lasers. He has been married to his wife Katherine for 51 years. He no longer teaches classes, but he researches full-time. He and Dr. Milton Feng run a transistor laser research center at the University funded by $6.5 million from the United States Department of Defense through DARPA.
Awards and honors
In 1989, Holonyak received the IEEE
In 2003, he was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor.
He has also received the Global Energy International Prize, the National Medal of Technology, the Order of Lincoln Medallion, and the 2004 Lemelson-MIT Prize, also worth $500,000. He has also received the Frederic Ives Medal of the Optical Society of America.
Many colleagues have expressed their belief that he deserves the Nobel Prize for his invention of the LED. On this subject, Holonyak says, "It's ridiculous to think that somebody owes you something. We're lucky to be alive, when it comes down to it."
On 9 November 2007, Holonyak was honored on the University of Illinois campus with a historical marker recognizing his development of the quantum-well laser. It is located on the Bardeen Engineering Quadrangle near where the old Electrical Engineering Research Laboratory used to stand.
In 2008, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (Announced February 14, 2008) (May 2-3, 2008 at Akron, Ohio). 
- ^ a b c Wolinsky, Howard (2005-02-05). "U. of I.'s Holonyak out to take some of Edison's luster", Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on 29 July 2007.
- ^ ECE Illinois - Faculty - John Bardeen Endowed Chair - ECE Illinois - U of I
- ^ a b c d e f g "After Glow", Illinois Alumni Magazine (May-June 2007). Retrieved on 3 August 2007.
- ^ a b c d "Nick Holonyak: He Saw The Lights", Business Week (2005-05-23). Retrieved on 3 August 2007.
- ^ a b "Nice Guys Can Finish As Geniuses at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.", Knight Ridder, Chicago Tribune (2003-01-25). Retrieved on 3 August 2007.
- ^ ECE Illinois - Faculty - ECE Illinois - U of I
- ^ "Holonyak Historical Marker Unveiled", University of Illinois College of Engineering (2007-11-15). Retrieved on 30 November 2007.
- ^ News | Engineering at Illinois | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign