The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this morning.
Mechanical engineer John B. Goodenough, chemist Akira Yoshino, and chemist and materials scientist Stanley Whittingham will share the prize for their work developing the lithium-ion battery.
Together, their work has paved a way for technical innovations in how we power everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced this morning that it has awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists—John B. Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino—for their development of the lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries have reshaped the way we store energy, paving the way for a more portable, sustainably powered world.
“We have gained access to a technical evolution,” said biochemist and Nobel committee member Sara Snogerup Linse of Lund University at a press conference held by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 9, 2019
At 97 years old, Goodenough, the Virginia H. Cockrell Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, is the oldest laureate to have ever been awarded a Nobel Prize. The Nobel committee noted that it had not been able to reach him this morning to alert him of his win. Whittingham is a Distinguished Professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York and Yoshino is a professor at Meijo University in Japan and an honorary fellow at Asahi Kasei Corporation. The winners will share the prize of more than $900,000.
In response to the oil crisis of the 1970s, Whittingham created a more efficient type of battery, which used lithium and had a titanium disulphide cathode. Goodenough improved on the idea when he converted the cathode to the more efficient cobalt oxide, leading to a more powerful battery. Yoshino then took the technology to market in 1985 with an updated design that swapped the lithium anode for a petroleum coke anode, creating a fully rechargeable battery that would go on to revolutionize the planet.
On Thursday, the Nobel Prize committee will announce the prize in Literature, followed by the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. On Monday, the committee will award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
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