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Nobel Prize winner who invented LED light bulbs receives honorary UMass Lowell degree

Shuji Nakamura will be presented with an honorary degree at the school at 2:30 p.m Wednesday.
Shuji Nakamura will be presented with an honorary degree at the school at 2:30 p.m Wednesday.Kyodo News/Associated Press/File 2006

The Nobel Prize winner credited with inventing energy-efficient LED light bulbs received an honorary degree at University of Massachusetts Lowell on Wednesday afternoon, the school announced.

Shuji Nakamura was presented with an honorary degree and gave the keynote speech during the annual Tripathy Endowed Memorial Lecture. Nakamura was the 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physics.

“Dr. Nakamura’s major breakthrough in lighting technology has had a worldwide impact,” UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney said, according a statement from the college. “We applaud his extraordinary persistence, creative thinking and problem-solving capabilities. His presence on campus today demonstrates to our students that they, too, can create a more sustainable future through innovative ideas and disciplined research.”

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Nakamura discussed his research at the event, which is named for Sukant Tripathy, a former UMass Lowell chemistry professor, provost, and vice chancellor.

In addition to his Nobel prize, Nakamura was awarded the Global Energy Prize in 2015. He is a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, and earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Tokushima in Japan. He is also the holder of over 200 patents.

Three other people will be awarded honorary degrees this year at UMass Lowell’s commencement ceremonies May 19. The recipients are Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Macheam, CEO of Putnam Plastics James Dandeneau, and Temba Maqubela, winner of the Desmond Tutu Social Justice Award.


Globe Correspondent Jacob Carozza contributed to this report. Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at laney.ruckstuhl@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.