John B Goodenough, M Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino have won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in “the development of lithium-ion batteries”. 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. John Goodenough doubled the lithium battery’s potential, creating the right conditions for a vastly more powerful and useful battery. Akira Yoshino succeeded in eliminating pure lithium from the battery, instead basing it wholly on lithium ions, which are safer than pure lithium. This made the battery workable in practice.
97-year-old Goodenough is the new oldest person ever to get the Nobel prize.
Lithium-ion batteries, the first truly lightweight batteries, have paved the way for portable electronics, like mobile phones, pacemakers and even electric cars.