Nobel Prize in Chemistry Honors Work on Lithium-Ion Batteries

October 9, 2019 | The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Wednesday awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists — John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino — for their development of lightweight lithium-ion batteries.

“Their work led to the creation of powerful, lightweight and rechargeable batteries that you might be relying on to power a smartphone or laptop computer that you’re using to read this article today,” The New York Times wrote in their coverage of the announcement. Lithium-ion batteries not only enabled the development of portable electronics, they also made it possible to power electric cars, store energy generated by solar and wind power and improved lifesaving medical devices.

Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized electronics since they were introduced to the market in 1991. The scientists’ discoveries led to the development of sustainable and renewable batteries that were lightweight enough to make portable electronics a staple of modern life.

“We can see an enormous, dramatic effect on society because of this fantastic battery,” Olof Ramström, a member of the committee that selected the winners, said during an online broadcast.