John B. Goodenough
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019
Born: 25 July 1922, Jena, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA
Prize motivation: "for the development of lithium-ion batteries."
Prize share: 1/3
John Goodenough was born to American parents in Jena, Germany. After studying mathematics at Yale University, he served during the Second World War as a meteorologist in the US Army. He then studied at the University of Chicago, receiving a doctorate in physics there in 1952. He subsequently worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford University in Great Britain. Since 1986 he has been a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Storing electrical energy in batteries is a key factor in solving the world's energy supply. The element lithium is useful in batteries since it willingly releases electrons. In 1980 John Goodenough developed a lithium battery with a cathode of cobalt oxide, which, at a molecular level, has spaces that can house lithium ions. This cathode gave a higher voltage than earlier batteries. Goodenough's contributions were crucial for the development of lithium-ion batteries, which are used in for example mobile phones and electric cars.
Their work and discoveries range from the Earth’s climate and our sense of touch to efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
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The discovery of the 2019 chemistry laureates have a huge everyday impact for us. But what did they discover?