Fifty years ago today, Nick Holonyak, Jr. proudly demonstrated the world's first visible light-emitting diode (LED) at General Electric. In the process, he changed the world of lighting forever.

In the early 1960s, LEDs were only capable of emitting infrared light. Nick Holonyak suggested using a mixture of gallium arsenide and gallium phosphide to create one that could produce visible light, but was shot down by his non-believing colleagues.


Undeterred, he gave it a try and fortunately it worked: the LED as we know it today was born. This video shows Nick talking about his discovery. Fifty years on LEDs are more pervasive than ever—and before long, it will be difficult to light your home without them. [WIRED]

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