Editorial | Eminently worthy honor

Editorial | Eminently worthy honor

A University of Illinois laboratory is getting an excellent new name.

Congratulations are due to world-renowned University of Illinois engineering Professor Nick Holonyak Jr. for the latest in a long string of awards bestowed upon him.

The UI will rename its Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory in his honor.

This recognition is certainly due. Some would say it, like the Nobel Prize, is overdue.

A personable, hardworking genius, Holonyak is credited with discoveries that created the first light-emitting diode. These energy-savings LEDs are now a part of everyday life, to the point that they have changed everyday life around the world.

They're found in everything from flashlights to complicated electronics.

Holonyak and another UI professor, Milton Feng, built on that work with further research that combined optics and electronics, laying the groundwork for improved communications and more powerful computers.

Most people, of course, can't begin to fathom the complicated nature of the research that has marked Holonyak's career. But they certainly appreciate its importance, as well as the journey Holonyak made from humble beginnings to the heights of academia.

He's not just a great man in terms of his accomplishments, Holonyak is a great example for those who grow up in modest circumstances but make the most of their opportunities.

Everyone can't be as brilliant as Holonyak, but everyone can certainly set goals and work hard to achieve them.

Holonyak comes honestly by his achievement. He was a graduate student and researcher with John Bardeen, the UI's two-time Nobel Prize winner. He earned three degrees at the UI and has been a mainstay in a prestigious department that attracts top-drawer students.

Despite his advanced age, he continues his work because he contends "you're never too old" to make a difference. Good for him and great for the rest of us who watch and admire his great work.

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