The power packs drive mobile phones, laptops, electric cars and solar panels.
“This is a highly charged story,” began Olof Ramstrom, a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, explaining why his group today awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to a trio of scientists who spent decades developing the lithium-ion battery. These batteries, small and powerful as compared with older battery technology, made possible pocket-sized mobile phones, laptop computers, electric cars and renewable-energy devices such as solar panels that can help address the problems of climate change, Ramstrom said.
The prize will be shared by John B. Goodenough of the University of Texas at Austin, M. Stanley Whittingham of Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Akira Yoshino, who works at Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University in Japan. They will split the nearly $1-million award.
Lithium batteries have been touted as Nobel-worthy for years, says Bonnie Charpentier, president of the American Chemical Society. “I think that it’s magnificent that Goodenough won this year,” she says, noting that at age 97, he is the oldest Nobel laureate. Yoshino is 71, showing that the research stretched across generations.
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