Shuji Nakamura, who pioneered the development of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), is leaving Japan to take up an academic position in the United States.
Nakamura worked on gallium nitride-based LEDs and laser diodes at Nichia Chemicals, a privately owned manufacturer of fluorescent materials. He is taking up a professorship at the University of California, Santa Barbara, starting in February.
Following the demonstration of a workable blue laser, now commercially available, Nakamura says there was little left for him to achieve at Nichia.
According to Nakamura, many industrial researchers are leaving Japan for better working conditions in the United States. “Japanese industrial research and development may be on its way to becoming obsolete.”
Nakamura, who has not made up his mind about future research, says he did not receive any offers from Japanese companies or universities, but cannot imagine working for a Japanese university. “Because of numerous regulations, Japanese universities do not provide an environment where researchers can work freely.”
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Triendl, R. Top physicist quits Japan for US. Nature 403, 351 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/35000375