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When Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors in the early 1990s, they triggered a funda-mental transformation of lighting technology. Red and green diodes had been around for a long time but without blue light, white lamps could not be created. Despite considerable efforts, both in the scientific community and in industry, the blue LED had remained a challenge for three decades.
They succeeded where everyone else had failed. Akasaki worked together with Amano at the University of Nagoya, while Nakamura was employed at Nichia Chemicals, a small company in Tokushima. Their inventions were revolutionary. Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.
White LED lamps emit a bright white light, are long-lasting and energy-efficient. They are constantly improved, getting more efficient with higher luminous flux (measured in lumen) per unit electrical input power (measured in watt). The most recent record is just over 300 lm/W, which can be compared to 16 for regular light bulbs and close to 70 for fluorescent lamps. As about one fourth of world electricity consumption is used for lighting purposes, the LEDs contribute to saving the Earth’s resources. Materials consumption is also diminished as LEDs last up to 100,000 hours, compared to 1,000 for incandescent bulbs and 10,000 hours for fluorescent lights.
The LED lamp holds great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids: due to low power requirements it can be powered by cheap local solar power.
The invention of the blue LED is just twenty years old, but it has already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all.
Shuji Nakamura went on to develop the white LED and the blue laser which is used in Blu-Ray devices."
grouchomarxist (127479) writes "Physicists at the University of Michigan claim that they have made the first detection of dark matter. 'Dark matter, whose composition is still a mystery, doesn't emit or absorb light, so astronomers can't see it directly with telescopes. They deduce that it exists based on how its gravity affects visible matter. Scientists estimate that dark matter makes up more than 80 percent of the universe. To "see" the dark matter component of the filament that connects the clusters Abell 222 and 223, Dietrich and his colleagues took advantage of a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. They were able to determine the extent to which the supercluster distorted galaxies, and with that information, they could plot the gravitational field and the mass of the Abell 222 and 223 clusters. "It looks like there's a bridge that shows that there is additional mass beyond what the clusters contain, the clusters alone cannot explain this additional mass," Dietrich said.' Article in nature is here." Link to Original Source top
grouchomarxist (127479) writes "Microsoft is considering selling the Zune subsidized like a cellphone, according to this excerpt on MarketWatch from a PC World magazine interview with Microsoft's Zune marketing director, Jason Reindorp. According to the article: "The spokesman said that Microsoft first considered the cellphone-like distribution plan after seeing interest in its Zune Pass subscription service, which offers monthly paid access to songs on the Zune Marketplace, a competitor to Apple's iTunes store. Though he declined to say how many subscribers currently use Zune Pass, the spokesman said subscriptions rose 65% during January." The PC World interview doesn't appear to be available yet online." top
grouchomarxist (127479) writes "According to this article, Bill Gates has said that the Zune will soon connect to the Xbox 360 and the PC. So while the Zune's current wireless functionality has been highly criticized, perhaps it will be more useful in the next generation."