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expert reaction to Chemistry Nobel Prize

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to John B Goodenough (University of Texas at Austin), M Stanley Whittingham (Binghamton University), and Akira Yoshino (Meijo University) for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

 

Prof Peter Bruce, Department of Materials, University of Oxford, said:

“John Goodenough’s intellect and insight led him to make discoveries that have changed science and the World. The LI-ion battery has revolutionised communicates and is only at the beginning of its impact in mitigating climate change.”

 

Prof Saiful Islam, Department of Chemistry, University of Bath, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino have been awarded the Chemistry Nobel Prize for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

“As we know, these batteries have helped power the portable revolution and now have a crucial role in electric vehicles to lowering emissions and improving air quality.

“In my view, this award is long overdue and it’s great to see that this important area of materials chemistry has been recognised.”

 

Prof Richard Catlow, Professor of Catalytic and Computational Chemistry, Cardiff Catalysis Institute, School of Chemistry, said:

“I remember well when John, then in Oxford, did his pioneering work on the lithium cobalt oxide cathode. We were all impressed by this typically imaginative and creative piece of solid state chemistry; but none of us realised that the discovery would have global impact by changing the way we live and work.”

 

Prof Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, said:

“Professor Goodenough’s contributions in the field of materials science have fundamentally shaped the technology we take for granted today. From powering the smartphone in your pocket, to his defining work on the properties of magnetism, these contributions have opened new avenues for scientific investigation and engineering.

“The cathode he developed for the lithium ion battery built on the work of his fellow laureate Professor Whittingham, and was made commercially viable by the work of Professor Yoshino. Scientific breakthroughs are rarely – if ever – a solo endeavour and it is absolutely fitting that this year’s Nobel Prize for Chemistry should be shared in this way.

“I look forward to celebrating with John in person when he picks up his Copley Award at the Society this evening.”

 

Prof Dame Carol Robinson, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said:

“Firstly, congratulations to all of the recipients of this year’s prize. Their pioneering research is everywhere you look and a great example of how chemistry has paved the way for everything from the mobile phone in your pocket to the electric vehicles and home energy storage of the future.

“It’s not the end of the journey, as lithium is a finite resource and many scientists around the world are building on the foundations laid by these three brilliant chemists.

“It’s important to recognise that this research was originally fundamental – John Goodenough conducted much of his initial research when he was head of inorganic chemistry at the University of Oxford, so this is good recognition for UK science. It is now vital that governments and funders around the world continue to support the creative, discovery science that can provide a truly sustainable future for energy.

“John Goodenough is coming to the Royal Society this evening as he’s been awarded their Copley Medal, so there’s a celebration to which I’ve also been invited to receive their Royal Medal, and I’m delighted that I’ll get the chance to meet him.”

 

Dr Gregory Offer, Reader in Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, said:

“Lithium ion batteries are going to be one of the key enabling technologies of the 21st century. They have already underpinned the mobile revolution, and are now essential to help us solve the problem of climate change by electrifying transport and storing renewable electricity generation. This Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work on lithium ion batteries is well justified.”

 

Dr Paul Coxon from the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge:

“Over two thirds of the world’s population own a mobile device be it a smart phone, a laptop or tablet, and nearly all powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. They are the hidden workhorses of the mobile era which came about thanks to fundamental research that began over 40 years ago. Since then scientists across the globe have been pushing forward making new discoveries in the chemistry of materials to make batteries, more efficient, smaller, longer-lasting, and most crucially — safer. Today batteries power vehicles, and store electricity from renewable energy sources, helping reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. All three Nobel winners played vital roles in this energy storage revolution which has now placed power in our pockets. It’s a wonderful example of taking research from the lab, we can literally hold the result in our hands.” 

 

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