NCSU prof to receive medal for device


B. Jayant Baliga’s most important invention – a kind of switch for efficiently controlling the flow of electrical power – is obscure but nearly everywhere, and without it life would be really, really different. The device, called an insulated gate bipolar transistor, can now be found in seemingly everything that uses or creates electricity, including household appliances, computers, cars, industrial and medical equipment, windmills and solar panels. It’s particularly important in the construction of hybrid and electric vehicles, and is even used in the new compact fluorescent light bulbs and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

It reduces energy use, and by some estimates has helped save trillions of dollars in electricity and kept vast amounts of climate-changing carbon out of the atmosphere.

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