Professor Gertrude Newmark Rothschild, whose research helped improve light emitting diodes (LEDs), died on November 11 at 83. Her research helped improve LEDs and laser diodes, especially the ones used in lighting. Professor Rothschild taught materials science and engineering at Columbia University and studied the optical properties of wide bandgap semiconductors and developed diodes capable of using the upper range of the spectrum, which serves as a superior light source. The new short-wavelength LEDs, which emit blue, green, violet and ultraviolet light, were much more energy efficient, reliable and long-lived.
Here's her obituary in the New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/business/18rothschild.html?src=me