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Yasuhiko Arakawa (2014-2017), October 2014

Congratulations from the ICO President to the 2014 Nobel Prize Winners in Physics and Chemistry


The 2014 Nobel Prizes in both Physics and Chemistry have been awarded to distinguished scientists who have made seminal contributions in the field of optics and photonics.

As the President of ICO, I express my congratulations to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura for being the 2014 Nobel Prize awardees in Physics, “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”. 

Their development of III-Nitride semiconductor-based blue-light LEDs has led to great innovation in lighting technologies, leading to timely benefits for mankind through global energy saving. Their long-term effort of semiconductor material development and investigation of device physics really deserves great praise.

I am also pleased to congratulate Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and William E. Moerner, recipients of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy". Their ground-breaking work has brought optical microscopy into the nano-scale dimension, well beyond the long-acknowledged resolution limit determined by half the wavelength of light. Stefan Hell developed stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy, which yields an image with a resolution well beyond Abbe’s stipulated limit. Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner, working separately, laid the foundation for a different “super-resolution” method, single-molecule microscopy. The ICO is pleased and honored to note that Stefan Hell was selected by the ICO as the recipient of the prestigious ICO Prize in 2000.

As is now well known among the international optics community, the United Nations General Assembly in its 68th Session proclaimed 2015 the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). There is no doubt that the awarding of the 2014 Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry for accomplishments in the field of optics and photonics will not only draw more attention to the IYL2015 but also raise global awareness of how very important light-based technologies are in promoting sustainable development, of how they play a vital role in our daily lives, and of why optics is such an important cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century.

I express my hope that all six awardees will continue to contribute to the progress of optics and photonics and to inspire young researchers and students to meet challenges in innovative science and technology.

Yasuhiko Arakawa