The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has just been awarded to Stanley Whittingham, Akira Yoshino and John Goodenough for their work on lithium-ion batteries, and John Goodenough, at the age of 97, is the dean of the winners.
After medicine and physics, a place for chemistry. Two years ago, the Nobel Prize was awarded to researchers Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of electronic cryomicroscopy. Last year the Americans Frances H. Arnold and George P. Smith, and the British Gregory P. Winter were honored for their work on the science of evolution. This year’s award recognizes three researchers – Stanley Whittingham, Akira Yoshino, and John Goodenough – for their work on lithium-ion batteries.
This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery are now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops to electric vehicles, the committee said. It can also store large amounts of energy from solar and wind energy, making a fossil fuel-free society possible.
A rechargeable world
The lithium-ion battery was first founded during the oil crisis in the 1970s. Stanley Whittingham then worked on developing methods that could lead to fossil-fuel-free energy technologies. John Goodenough, through his work, has doubled the power of these batteries. Finally, thanks to his work, Akira Yoshino created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery in 1985.
Together, these three researchers managed to create a “rechargeable world”. Lithium-ion batteries are now present in most of our electronics. Like our laptops, smartphones or other tablets. They also condition the future of electric vehicles.
Recall that on Monday, the medical award went to William Kaelin, Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza for their work on adapting cells to oxygen availability. Yesterday physics prize awarded James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for their work on cosmology and exoplanets.
Nobel Prize Week continues tomorrow with the presentation of the Literature Prize. The Nobel Peace Prize will then be awarded on Friday, and the economy prize next Monday.