Physics Today has a short article on the work that led to this year’s Nobel Prize. This isn’t something that I know very much about, so I’ll leave the explanation to them. A very short summary is that the development of blue LEDs took much longer than red and green and (not surprisingly) came down to finding the right materials and the right production techniques.
The winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in physics were announced a few hours ago. The prize went to three Japanese physicists for their work in developing blue LEDs, which apparently could have some nice properties in the future. I don’t think this was a very high profile topic that many people expected would win the prize. The committee mentions that this choice was motivated at least in part by the potential good LED technology could do in the future rather than basing the award on importance to physics research.