Tales of Nakamura

Bright lights, piles of cash, courtroom drama, and a lone inventor

5 min read
Tales of Nakamura
Photo: UCSB

imgBrilliant!: Shuji Nakamura and the Revolution in Lighting Technology by Bob Johnstone; Prometheus Books, Amherst, N.Y., 2007; 316 pp., illustrated; US $28; ISBN 1-591-02462-5Photo: Randy Lamb/University of California, Santa Barbara

Thomas Alva Edison had plenty of help when he invented the first practical incandescent lightbulb more than 125 years ago. By contrast, Shuji Nakamura was working virtually alone at a small, obscure Japanese company in 1992 when he developed the bright blue light-emitting diode, or LED, that now promises to supplant that bulb in many applications. Since then, Nakamura has become a celebrity in Japan, a litigant in a high-profile lawsuit, a California resident, the winner of the 2006 Millennium Technology Prize, and a wealthy man.

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How Nanotech Can Foil Counterfeiters

These tiny mechanical ID tags are unclonable, cheap, and invisible

10 min read
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Close up of a finger with a clear square on it.
University of Florida
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What's the largest criminal enterprise in the world? Narcotics? Gambling? Human trafficking?

Nope. The biggest racket is the production and trade of counterfeit goods, which is expected to exceed US $1 trillion next year. You've probably suffered from it more than once yourself, purchasing on Amazon or eBay what you thought was a brand-name item only to discover that it was an inferior-quality counterfeit.

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