Jacques I. Pankove, discoverer of LEDs, has passed away

EECS Alumnus Jacques I. Pankove (BS EE 1944/MS EE 1948), who received the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus award in 2000 for building the first  gallium nitride light-emitting diode (LED), died on July 12, 2016 at the age of 94.

A refugee of Czarist Russia, Pankove grew up in Marseilles before emigrating to the US after the Nazi invasion of France.  While at Berkeley, Pankove built a Morse code Translator, showing his creativity involving diverse disciplines: software (how to decipher the dot and dash code), electronic circuits, and optics (to make luminous characters appear at a central visual spot).  He  left Berkeley to earn a PhD in Physics from the University of Paris but returned to the EECS Department in 1968 as a visiting McKay Lecturer.   He subsequently took a job working on transistors at RCA Lab where he and Edward Miller demonstrated the first blue electroluminescence from zinc-doped gallium nitride.

In addition to being a prolific inventor with over 90 US patents, Pankove authored a seminal textbook Optical Processes in Semiconductors in 1972 using his class notes as a lecturer at Berkeley.