ALFRED — It was somewhat of a homecoming last week as Alfred University alum Dr. John Edmond returned to campus to deliver the annual John F. McMahon Memorial Lecture at the Inamori School of Engineering.

Edmond, who grew up in the Wayland-Cohocton area, has served on the Alfred University Board of Trustees since 2008. Edmond has made his mark in the industry since graduating from Alfred in 1983, earning multiple awards and distinctions.

Edmond is the co-founder of Cree Inc., a company that focuses on the development and production of solid-state blue, green and white LED lighting.

Edmond’s lecture, entitled “Reinventing Lighting,” focused mainly on the make up, efficiency, and overall safety of LED lighting as well as a thorough overview of LED technology in the modern world. LED stands for “light emitting diode.” This type of lighting is a much safer, more energy efficient light source than the conventional light source (the incandescent light bulb) that was pioneered by the late Thomas Edison.

The lecture was accompanied by a slide show that covered everything from “What is light?” to Nitride chip types, as well as a short film about the anatomy of the LED light which highlighted color temperature and the history of modern lighting.

The well-established AU alum also spoke on the subject of the “Green Movement,” a cleaner, longer lasting light source that is non-toxic to humans. The conventional light bulb contains mercury, a chemical that is potentially deadly to humans. Edmond elaborated on the 30,000 pounds of mercury waste that end up in landfills in the U.S. every year.

The Alfred alum spoke at length about the role LED lighting plays in conserving the environment.

“LED’s are the mitigating factor in reducing global warming,” he said.

Edmond gave many examples of all the uses of LED lighting in everything from police car lights to the emergency room, to the modern home and even the stadium lights you now see at the Super Bowl. Edmond also spoke of how LED lights were recently introduced in Los Angeles. The city underwent an extensive LED transition, and now saves $10 million a year on its electrical bill.

All in all, the lecture provided a thorough overview of the LED light’s pioneering role in our everyday lives, and its place as a “smart light” source that has already become the way of the future.

The John F. McMahon Lecture Award is presented annually to an outstanding ceramic engineer. The award was created by alumni in honor of the late John F. McMahon, an alumnus, a professor and finally, dean of what is now the Inamori School of Engineering.