From Publishers Weekly
Australian technology writer Johnstone (Never Mind the Laptops
) heralds what he believes will be a revolution in lighting: light emitting diodes, or LEDs, "tiny specks of semiconductor material that shine when hooked up to a voltage." They consume 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours. According to Johnstone, in front of the revolution is Shuji Nakamura, a Japanese scientist who solved a series of difficult technical problems to develop a blue LED bright enough to be used in commercial settings. Johnstone is utterly enamored of Nakamura ("Shuji took off. It was as if he had rockets in his feet like Mighty Atom, his boyhood comic book superhero"), and two section of the book cover his technical triumph and the legal and professional complications that accompanied his departure from his Japanese employer. This section provides an interesting window into the differences between the Japanese and American approaches to scientific research. The book's other sections expound on the present and future uses of LEDs, for which Johnstone is evangelical in his enthusiasm. Since the technical descriptions of the chemical processes that produce blue LED are difficult, in the end, average readers may find Johnstone's infatuation with Nakamura and LEDs hard to share. Illus. (May)
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“[A] compelling account of Nakamura’s story, packed with salutary lessons for would-be Edisons.”
“[Nakamura] is clearly a great subject for an engaging book, and author Bob Johnstone does not disappoint…he weaves a lucid, captivating narrative around Nakamura's struggles to achieve his luminous dream…Johnstone offers readers much more than a Nakamura biography, for this is also an insightful first look at several key players in a solid-state lighting industry that is already grossing more than $4 billion annually…Brilliant! is a superb introduction to this dramatic story of high technology in action, which continues to this day.”
“The longtime technology reporter…has a passion for uncovering the mysteries of abstruse material science that is unmatched in the popular science press. You don't even have to understand every word he says to appreciate him… His newest book, Brilliant! . . .
focuses the narrative on the man most responsible for the explosion in LED lighting that is currently sweeping the globe.”
“How the World Works” column
“[A]n impeccably researched, comprehensive history of the SSL [solid-state lighting] industry, whose products will revolutionize the way we see the world.”
, Tokyo, Japan (one of Japan's leading English-language newspapers)From the Trade Paperback edition.