• FILE - In this June 15, 2006 file photo, Prof. Shuji Nakamura demonstrates different LED lights during a presentation in Santa Barbara, Calif. when he was awarded the $1.2 million Millennium Technology Prize for revolutionary inventions in light and laser technology. Nakamura along with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan won Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes — a new energy efficient and environment-friendly light source. (AP Photo/The News Press, Steve Malone, File) NO SALES

    FILE - In this June 15, 2006 file photo, Prof. Shuji Nakamura demonstrates different LED lights during a presentation in Santa Barbara, Calif. when he was awarded the $1.2 million Millennium Technology Prize for revolutionary inventions in light and ... laser technology. Nakamura along with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan won Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes — a new energy efficient and environment-friendly light source. (AP Photo/The News Press, Steve Malone, File) NO SALES (The Associated Press)

  • Meijo University Prof. Isamu Akasaki speaks during a news conference after learning he won the Nobel Prize in physics at the university in Nagoya, central Japan, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Japanese scientists, Akasaki, 85, Nagoya University Prof. Hiroshi Amano, 54, and Shuji Nakamura, 60, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, won Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes — a new energy efficient and environment-friendly light source. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY

    Meijo University Prof. Isamu Akasaki speaks during a news conference after learning he won the Nobel Prize in physics at the university in Nagoya, central Japan, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Japanese scientists, Akasaki, 85, Nagoya University Prof. Hiroshi ... Amano, 54, and Shuji Nakamura, 60, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, won Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes — a new energy efficient and environment-friendly light source. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY (The Associated Press)

  • In this undated photo shows Nagoya University Prof. Hiroshi Amano. Japanese scientists, Amano, 54, Meijo University Prof. Isamu Akasaki, 85, and Shuji Nakamura, 60, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, won Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes — a new energy efficient and environment-friendly light source. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY

    In this undated photo shows Nagoya University Prof. Hiroshi Amano. Japanese scientists, Amano, 54, Meijo University Prof. Isamu Akasaki, 85, and Shuji Nakamura, 60, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, won Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 the Nobel ... Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes — a new energy efficient and environment-friendly light source. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY (The Associated Press)

A look at winners of 2014 Nobel Prize in physics: Akasaki, Amano and Nakamura

Features Associated Press

WHO WON?

Continue Reading Below

Japanese scientists Isamu Akasaki, 85, a professor at Meijo University, Nagoya; Hiroshi Amano, 54, a professor at Nagoya University; and Japanese-born American scientist Shuji Nakamura, 60, of the University of California at Santa Barbara.

FOR WHAT?

For inventing blue light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that can be combined with green and red LEDs to create a light that appears white.

SIGNIFICANCE

The invention of blue LEDs has spurred the development of smartphones, computer and television screens. White LED lights also provide a way of replacing traditional incandescent bulbs and fluorescent lamps with an energy-efficient and environment-friendly source.

Continue Reading Below

"Incandescent light bulbs had lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps," the Nobel committee said.

WHAT THEY SAID

In a news conference on Japanese television, Akasaki immediately thanked his colleagues.

"I did not achieve this alone," he said.

Nakamura said he was satisfied that LED lighting is becoming a reality.

"I hope that energy-efficient LED light bulbs will help reduce energy use and lower the cost of lighting worldwide," he said in a statement.