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Three scientists jointly awarded 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Three scientists jointly awarded 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Three scientists on Wednesday won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries, which have reshaped energy storage and transformed cars, mobile phones and many other devices — and reduced reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

The prize went to John B. Goodenough, 97, a German-born engineering professor at the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham, 77, a British-American chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Japan’s Akira Yoshino, 71, of Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University.

The three each had a set of unique breakthroughs that cumulatively laid the foundation for the development of a commercial rechargeable battery.

Goodenough is the oldest ever recipient of a Nobel Prize.

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The Nobel committee said the lithium-ion battery has its roots in the oil crisis in the 1970s when Whittingham was working to develop methods aimed at leading to fossil-fuel-free energy technologies.

“We have gained access to a technical revolution,” said Sara Snogerup Linse, of the Nobel committee for chemistry. “The laureates developed lightweight batteries with high enough potential to be useful in many applications — truly portable electronics: mobile phones, pacemakers, but also long-distance electric cars.”

“The ability to store energy from renewable sources — the sun, the wind — opens up for sustainable energy consumption,” she added.

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