Developers of lithium-ion batteries win Nobel Prize in chemistry

By | October 9, 2019

Ted Spiegel | Corbis Documentary | Getty

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to the scientists John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for “the development of lithium-ion batteries.”

Used in everything from laptops and smartphones to Elon Musk’s Tesla vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, which are rechargeable, play an incredibly important role in modern society.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the batteries had, “revolutionised our lives since they first entered the market in 1991. They have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, and are of the greatest benefit to humankind.”

The award of 9 million Swedish krona ($ 900,000) will be shared equally between its three recipients.

John B. Goodenough is the Virginia H. Cockrell chair in engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, while M. Stanley Whittingham is distinguished professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York. Akira Yoshino is an honorary fellow at the Asahi Kasei Corporation in Tokyo, Japan and a professor at Meijo University, Nagoya.

In a statement commenting on the award, the president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Carol Robinson, said the recipients’ “pioneering research” was “everywhere you look and a great example of how chemistry has paved the way for everything from the mobile phone in your pocket to the electric vehicles and home energy storage of the future.”

“It’s not the end of the journey, as lithium is a finite resource and many scientists around the world are building on the foundations laid by these three brilliant chemists,” Robinson added.

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