If you've ever turned on a computer, you can thank Shuji "Fiat Lux" Nakamura for the LED
that glows back at you. This University of California, Santa Barbara-based professor was recently awarded the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize by the government of Finland
yesterday for his work on light emitting diodes. The previous winner of the first prize went in 2004 to Tim "The Webfather" Berners-Lee -- and Nakamura, like Sir Tim and each future winner of this biannual prize, takes home a cool €1 million. Nakamura has also worked on the blue laser diode that is used in the reading of Blu-ray
and HD DVD
discs. Maybe we can now get Nakamura to use his smarts to go after the Nobel Peace Prize by solving the Blu-ray / HD DVD format war.