Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

Author: ChemViews Magazine

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 has been jointly awarded to

  • John B. Goodenough, The University of Texas at Austin, USA,
  • M. Stanley Whittingham, Binghamton University, State University of New York, USA, and
  • Akira Yoshino, Asahi Kasei Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, and Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan

“for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”


In the 1970s, Stanley Whittingham created a cathode in a lithium battery made from titanium disulfide. The anode was partially made from metallic lithium. This made the battery too explosive to be viable. In 1980, John Goodenough demonstrated that cobalt oxide with intercalated lithium ions can produce as much as four volts. In 1985, Akira Yoshino created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery. He used petroleum coke, a carbon material that, like the cathode’s cobalt oxide, can intercalate lithium ions as an anode. This resulted in a lightweight, hardwearing battery that could be charged hundreds of times.

Since they first entered the market in 1991, lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our lives. They are used in mobile phones, laptops, electric vehicles, etc. Lithium-ion batteries can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making a fossil fuel-free society possible.


John B. Goodenough, born in 1922 in Jena, Germany, studied mathematics at Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA, and physics at the University of Chicago, IL, USA, where he received his Ph.D. in 1952. He then joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA. Goodenough became Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford, UK, in 1976. Since 1986, he has been a Professor at The University of Texas at Austin in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

Among many other honors, John B. Goodenough has received the Japan Prize in 2001, the National Medal of Science in 2011, the Benjamin Franklin Award in Chemistry in 2018, and the Copley Medal from the Royal Society in 2019. He is a Fellow of the Electrochemistry Society and a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) grants a John B Goodenough Award in his honor. He is the oldest Nobel Laureate ever awarded the prize.

M. Stanley Whittingham, born in 1941 in, Nottingham, UK, studied chemistry at Oxford University, where he received his doctoral degree in 1968. He then performed postdoctoral research at Stanford University, Ca, USA. He then worked for Exxon Research & Engineering Company and for Schlumberger Limited. He joining Binghamton University in 1988 as Professor of Chemistry and today serves there as Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering.

Among many other honors, M. Stanley Whittingham has received the Young Author Award from The Electrochemical Society in 1971, the Battery Research Award in 2004, the IBA Yeager Award for Lifetime Contribution to Lithium Battery Materials Research in 2012. He is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Akira Yoshino, born in 1948 in Suita, Japan, studied engineering at Kyoto University, Japan, and obtained his Ph.D. in engineering from Osaka University, Japan. Starting in 1972, he worked at Asahi Kasei Corporation, first in the Kawasaki Laboratory developing Li-ion batteries, then as Manager in the ion-battery business. Since 2003, he is a Fellow at Asahi Kasei and since 2005, he serves as General Manager of the corporation’s Yoshino Laboratory. Since 2017, he also is Professor at the Graduate School of Science and Technology of Meijo University.

Among other honors, Akira Yoshino has received the Battery Division Technology Award from The Electrochemical Society in 1999, the IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies in 2012, the Japan Prize in 2018, and the European Inventor Award in 2019.


Selected Publications by John B. Goodenough

Selected Publications by M. Stanley Whittingham

Selected Publications by Akira Yoshino

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