3 awarded Chemistry Nobel for developing lithium ion batteries

3 scientists, Nobel Prize, Chemistry, lithium-ion batteries, Akira Yoshino, Stanley Whittingham, John B Goodenough, Nobel Prize for Physics, Cosmology
The jury of the Nobel Prize Committee said that these three scientists had won the Nobel Prize because they had “created the right conditions for a wireless and fossil-free society.” Photo: The Nobel Prize/Twitter.

The Nobel Prize 2019 for Chemistry has been awarded to Akira Yoshino, Stanley Whittingham and John B Goodenough for developing lithium-ion batteries.

The jury of the Nobel Prize Committee said that these three scientists had won the Nobel Prize because they had “created the right conditions for a wireless and fossil-free society.”

“The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 rewards the development of the lithium-ion battery. This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful batteries are now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles,” an official statement released by the Nobel Prize committee noted.

The official Twitter handle of the Nobel Prize put out a tweet: “Chemistry Laureate John Goodenough doubled the lithium battery’s potential, creating the right conditions for a vastly more powerful and useful battery.”

It also highlighted the fact that in the 1970s, it was Whittingham who had used lithium’s enormous drive to release its outer electron when he developed the first functional lithium battery.

Mentioning further details about Yoshino’s breakthrough, the committee said that Yoshino had successfully eliminated pure lithium from the battery, and had instead based it wholly on lithium-ions, which are safer than pure lithium. “This made the battery workable in practice”, it tweeted.

The three laureates each played a critical role in the development of lithium-ion batteries. In the early 1970s, Stanley Whittingham used lithium’s enormous drive to release its outer electron when he developed the first functional lithium battery.

Akira Yoshino succeeded in eliminating pure lithium from the battery, instead of basing it wholly on lithium-ions, which are safer than pure lithium.

Goodenough, who is 97 years old, is the oldest scientist to win a Nobel Prize.

John Goodenough was not reachable by the awards committee at his home in Austin Texas since he was in London to have dinner at the Royal Society this evening. He’s in London to receive the Copley Medal, the world’s oldest scientific prize.

The general consensus among scientists would be that lithium-ion batteries (electro-chemistry) have been finally recognized! This, in the context of the current climate change debate and fossil fuel dependence, is very important.

Also read: 3 scientists win Nobel Prize in Physics for discoveries in cosmology

Li-ion batteries are one of the most influential pieces of materials science that influence the modern life of everyone on the planet and even on missions to outer space. It’s remarkable too that although 30 years old, they have not been eclipsed by a better battery technology even now, which makes one but conclude what a remarkable discovery they are.

Lithium-ion batteries entered the market for the first time in 1991. These batteries can store huge amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making a fossil fuel-free society possible.

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to James Peebles for his theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology, and jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for discovering an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.

The international award in Physiology or Medicine was jointly awarded to William G Kaelin Jr, Gregg L Semenza, and Peter J Ratcliffe for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

(With inputs from agencies)

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