Shuji Nakamura


Interview, December 2014

Interview with 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physics Shuji Nakamura, 6 December 2014.

Transcript of the interview

Shuji Nakamura’s Nobel Prize awarded work and breakthroughs.

Shuji Nakamura on what brought him to science.

Shuji Nakamura on why he doesn’t have a role model.

Shuji Nakamura on how he heard about the Nobel Prize award.

Shuji Nakamura on whether life has changed after being awarded.

Copyright © Nobel Media AB 2014
Nobel Minds 2014

The 2014 Nobel Laureates met at the Grünewald Hall in the Stockholm Concert Hall in Stockholm on 11 December 2014 for the traditional round-table discussion and TV program ‘Nobel Minds’. The Nobel Laureates discussed the discoveries for which they’ve been honored, how these can be applied in a practical way, and the role of science in today’s society. The discussion was hosted by Zeinab Badawi of the BBC.

Interview, October 2014

Telephone interview with Shuji Nakamura following the announcement of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics, 7 October 2014. The interviewer is Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer of Nobel Media.

Shuji Nakamura was asleep in California when he got the call that he had been awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano. But now there’s “No time for sleep. No time for rest.”. Hear how he reacted when he got the call from Stockholm.

Interview transcript

[Shuji Nakamura] Hello, I’m Shuji Nakamura.

[Adam Smith] Oh, Professor Nakamura. Thank you very much for speaking to us and congratulations on the award.

[SN] OK. Thank you, thank you.

[AS] So can you tell me, where were you when you heard the news?

[SN] At my home. I was sleeping.

[AS] You were sleeping. [Laughs] A nice way to be woken up!

[SN] Yeah. [Laughs]

[AS] What was your initial reaction on hearing the news?

[SN] Yeah, I was so surprised because I’m not too sure whether I could win a Nobel Prize, you know, because basically physics, it means that usually people was awarded for the invention of the basic  theory. But in my case, not a basic theory, in my case just making the device, you know. So I’m not sure whether I could win a Nobel Prize or not, but the Nobel Committee called me and “You  got the Nobel Prize”. So, I was so, so happy, and I was so surprised.

[AS] That’s very nice and very humble of you. But your device is everywhere now. One cannot move but for finding LEDs everywhere. So how do you feel now that your invention is ubiquitous?

[SN] Yeah, of course I am very, very happy, because my device is everywhere. It is everywhere to save energy. So I am very happy every time I see my LED and laser diode. So I am very happy.

[AS] Did you ever imagine it would become so important?

[SN] No, no! When I started on my research I never expected I could invent the LED and laser diode. So I never…  I was so lucky

[AS] But people said that it would be very, very hard to make a blue LED. What gave you the courage to continue and make it happen?

[SN] Oh, because basically I like research because research is like to solve the quiz, you know. Always there is a problem and I have to solve the problem. So I like those patterns. It’s almost like research is sort of in a quiz. So always, problems happen and I wanted to solve the problem. And so that’s why I continued for research using those styles. So basically I like research, so that is the reason.

[AS] And what advice do you have for students who are just starting out?

[SN] I think the most important thing is students have to find out is what you like, what I like, you know. And almost it’s like a dream. And then, just work hard for your dream. I think that’s the best way, you know, to a good invention.

[AS] Now it’s the middle of the night there in California where you are.

[SN] Yes!

[AS] Will you get any sleep at all tonight?

[SN] No, basically no, because the Nobel Committee called me at 2 am and since that time all mass media is coming. A lot of Japanese … [unclear]. So, no time for sleep and no time for rest. Yeah, it’s amazing.

[AS] Are you enjoying yourself, yes?

[SN] Yes, I’m enjoying. [Laughs] Yeah. But too many mass media! Yes, I’m enjoying. It’s a totally different experience!

[AS] Good. Well for now let me just wish you all congratulations on your Prize.

[SN] OK, thanks very much.

[AS] And good luck with everything that’s going to happen tonight.

[SN] OK, thank you, thanks a lot.

[AS] Thank you very much for speaking to us.

[SN] Thank you, bye.

Did you find any typos in this text? We would appreciate your assistance in identifying any errors and to let us know. Thank you for taking the time to report the errors by sending us an e-mail.

To cite this section
MLA style: Shuji Nakamura – Interview. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Fri. 14 Jun 2024. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.