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MRS Press Release

The Materials Research Society Congratulates John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino on Receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

October 09, 2019
Press & Public Relations Contact:

Erin Hasinger
Communications Manager
Materials Research Society
Tel 724.779.2739

The Materials Research Society (MRS) congratulates John B. Goodenough, The University of Texas at Austin, M. Stanley Whittingham, Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Akira Yoshino, Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University, who were today awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”

Both Goodenough and Whittingham have been long-standing MRS members and authors, and have received some of the Society’s most prestigious awards.

According to the official Nobel announcement, “The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 rewards the development of the lithium-ion battery. This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. It can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society.” 

This Nobel Prize is very much a materials science prize. The development of lithium-ion batteries has crucially depended on advances in materials. This is seen from Whittingham’s development of titanium disulfide intercalated with lithium (Li) ions for use as a cathode in the first functional Li battery, to Goodenough’s use of cobalt oxide with intercalated Li ions to improve performance, to Yoshino’s use of petroleum coke to intercalate Li ions to create the first commercial battery. These materials developments have led to the current ubiquitous use of Li-ion batteries to power our world, changing our lives enormously.

Goodenough has been an active MRS member and author since the late 1980s, serving on several MRS Awards Committees. He was awarded the Materials Research Society’s highest honor, the Von Hippel Award, in 1989. The award recognizes those qualities most prized by materials scientists and engineers—brilliance and originality of intellect, combined with vision that transcends the boundaries of conventional scientific disciplines.

Whittingham has been an enthusiastic and committed MRS member, author and volunteer since the late 1980s. Currently serving on the Editorial Boards of both MRS Bulletin and MRS Energy & Sustainability, he has also chaired the Academic Affairs Committee and the University Chapters and Special Projects Subcommittee. He has also been strong advocate for MRS education and outreach programs, participating in both the Strange Matter and Making Stuff—Stronger, Smaller, Cleaner, Smarter efforts. Whittingham was named MRS Fellow in 2013 and in 2018 was awarded the David Turnbull Lectureship, which recognizes the career of a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to understanding materials phenomena and properties through research, writing and lecturing, as exemplified by the life work of David Turnbull.

“The Materials Research Society extends its sincerest congratulations to the 2019 recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry—John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino,” states MRS President, Michael R. Fitzsimmons. “Their development of the lithium-ion battery has, indeed, created “the rechargeable world” and revolutionized our lives. It is a win for chemistry and materials science!”

The Nobel Prizes will be awarded during a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

About the Materials Research Society

MRS is an organization of more than 11,500 materials researchers from academia, industry and government worldwide, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research and technology to improve the quality of life. MRS members are students and professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering—the full spectrum of materials research. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), MRS membership now spans over 80 countries, with 45 percent of members residing outside the United States.

MRS serves and engages members across generations to advance their careers and promote materials research and innovation. The Society produces high-quality meetings and publications, assuring that members of all career stages can present and publish their most important and timely work to an international and interdisciplinary audience. MRS continues to expand its professional development portfolio, as well as promote diversity and inclusion in the scientific workforce, with career services for researchers worldwide. The Society advocates for the importance of scientific research and innovation to policymakers and the community. And the MRS Awards program honors those whose work has already had a major impact in the field, as well as those whose work shows great promise for future leadership.

For more information about the Materials Research Society visit mrs.org and follow @Materials_MRS.