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John B. Goodenough, the Creator of the Lithium-Ion Battery and the Oldest Nobel Laureate, has Passed Away

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Photo: John B. Goodenough, the creator of the lithium-ion battery and the oldest Nobel laureate, has passed away. Source: The University of Texas at Austin
Photo: John B. Goodenough, the creator of the lithium-ion battery and the oldest Nobel laureate, has passed away. Source: The University of Texas at Austin

On Sunday, June 25, 2023, Professor John B. Goodenough passed away at the age of 100. He played a crucial role in the development of lithium-ion batteries, which are now widely used in consumer devices and industries. This was announced by the University of Texas at Austin.

"John's legacy as a brilliant scientist is immeasurable - his discoveries have improved the lives of billions of people around the world. He was a leader at the forefront of scientific research throughout decades of his career, and he never stopped seeking innovative solutions for energy storage," said Jay Hartzell, the President of the University of Texas at Austin.

In 2019, John B. Goodenough became the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize. He shared this honor with Stanley Whittingham from the State University of New York and Akira Yoshino from Meijo University.

Goodenough worked as a professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering for 37 years. Throughout his tenure, his research focused on battery materials and addressing fundamental scientific and technical challenges in solid-state materials for the creation of a new generation of batteries.

Goodenough identified and developed critical cathode materials that provide the high energy density required to power electronics such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles. In 1979, he and his research group discovered that using lithium cobalt oxide as the cathode in a lithium-ion battery could achieve high energy density with an anode different from metallic lithium. This discovery led to the development of carbon-based materials that enable the use of stable and controllable negative electrodes in lithium-ion batteries.

The discovery made over 40 years ago did not enrich Professor Goodenough. He consciously waived a significant portion of his patent rights, which contributed to the widespread adoption of the technology. Lithium-ion batteries have become the most common type of batteries, offering high capacity and portability - they have been used in the majority of portable devices for many years.

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