The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Wednesday awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists who developed lithium-ion batteries, the energy storage systems that have revolutionized portable electronics. Larger examples of the batteries have given rise to electric cars that can be driven on long trips, while the miniaturized versions are used in lifesaving medical devices like cardiac defibrillators.
John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino will share the prize, which is worth about $900,000.
“Lithium-ion batteries are a great example of how chemistry can transform peoples’ lives,” said Bonnie Charpentier, president of the American Chemical Society. “It’s wonderful to see this work recognized by the Nobel Prize.”
The three researchers’ work in the 1970s and 80s led to the creation of powerful, lightweight and rechargeable batteries that might be powering the smartphone or laptop computer that you’re using to read this article today. Lithium-ion batteries are also used in billions of cameras and power tools. Astronauts use them on the International Space Station, and the batteries have improved the prospects of renewable energy. Reducing fossil fuel energy sources can contribute to lessening the impact of climate change.
“Development of these batteries is a huge step forward, so we that we can really store solar and wind energy,” said Sara Snogerup Linse, the chairwoman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.
John B. Goodenough, 97, is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. With the award he becomes the oldest Nobel Prize winner, but is still active in research.
M. Stanley Whittingham, 77, is a professor at Binghamton University, State