2019 Chemistry Nobel Prize Resources

AIP congratulates John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino on being named the winners of this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”

This page will be populated with the information and resources about the 2019 Prizes and the newly named laureates.

Updates coming throughout the day


From AIP Leadership

Statement from Michael Moloney, AIP’s CEO

"AIP is delighted to congratulate John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino on being awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry," said Michael Moloney, chief executive officer for AIP. "Lithium-ion batteries have changed the way we work and play, providing compact, rechargeable energy storage for our electronic devices, cordless electric tools, and electric cars. The work of Goodenough, Whittingham and Yoshino enabled the early development and commercialization of this technology, improving life for all of humanity.”

Statement from Steve Mackwell, AIP’s DEO

“AIP congratulates John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino on being awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry," said Steve Mackwell, deputy executive officer of AIP. “Technological advances over the past 50 years mean we can access people and information almost anywhere at any time, with bandwidth that allows voice, messaging and real time video streaming. Much of this capability relies on compact, portable energy storage that does not degrade as it is recharged many hundreds of times. 

"Li-ion batteries have provided the capability to make this all possible, while also enabling the development of fully electric vehicles, medical devices inside the body, and major advances in viability of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The innovative research of Goodenough, Whittingham and Yoshino, drawing on their expertise in physics and chemistry, made the critical advances needed in the development and commercialization of these batteries, changing the way we communicate and inform ourselves about the world around us.”



This year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry highlighted one of the most significant modern advances in electronic technology. The prize was awarded to physicist John B. Goodenough, and chemists M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino “for the development of lithium-ion batteries.”

Creating a new type of battery is a very difficult task. Many batteries still in use were developed in the 19th century. As a result, the creation of lithium-ion batteries has led to a technological revolution.

Lithium-ion batteries have a number of properties that make them particularly useful. They are rechargeable, lightweight and high voltage, which makes them sustainable and applicable to a wide variety of technologies.

Batteries work by sending an electron out of one side -- called the anode -- through the circuit component that needs power and back into the other side of the battery -- the cathode. Lithium is a great candidate for this, because it is light and small, making it easy to pack many lithium atoms into a battery. It also tends to give away one of its electrons, which can then traverse the cell and power the circuit.

In the mid-1970s, Whittingham realized using a layered material as the battery’s cathode and anode allows for lithium to easily move between layers. In 1980, Goodenough discovered that cobalt oxide, a layered material, increases a lithium battery’s potential when used as the cathode.

Eventually, Yoshino proposed petroleum coke as the anode which, combined with Goodenough’s cathode, helps to maintain the battery’s high voltage. As lithium ions travel from the anode to the cathode, the electrons they donate cross the circuit to drive the electric device.

When reversed, the process recharges the battery. The battery can be used and recharged hundreds of times before it begins to degrade or lose capacity, changing the paradigm for energy storage and device portability.

With applications from cellphones and biomedical devices to electric vehicles and interplanetary exploration, the multidisciplinary innovations of Goodenough, Whittingham and Yoshino continue to have a powerful impact on society.

From Inside Science

Chemistry Nobel Prize Honors Three Scientists Who Developed Lithium-Ion Batteries


From Physics Today 

Goodenough, Whittingham, and Yoshino share 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Cold War computers, California supercars, and the pursuit of lithium-ion power

Batteries and electrochemical capacitors

Advanced batteries for electric vehicles—a look at the future

Solid electrolytes—the beta aluminas

Technologies to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the Next Decade


John B. Goodenough

German American physicist John B. Goodenough worked to identify and develop LixCoO2, an inexpensive cathode material, which was paramount in the creation of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Born in 1922, Goodenough is the oldest person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in any category. He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Yale University and a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, and served in the U.S. Army as a meteorologist during World War II. Goodenough has received the Charles Stark Draper Prize and the Japan Prize, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Sciences, and the Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales of Spain.

M. Stanley Whittingham

M. Stanley Whittingham played a key role in the development of lithium-ion batteries and discovered the concept of intercalation electrodes. He holds 16 patents that relate to the development of energy technologies as well as a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in chemistry from Oxford University. Whittingham is a British American chemist and currently a professor of chemistry and director of the Institute for Materials Research and the Materials Science and Engineering program at Binghamton University. In 2010, GreentechMedia named Whittingham as one of the top 40 innovators contributing to advancing green technology.

Akira Yoshino

A Japanese chemist born in 1948, Akira Yoshino is the inventor of lithium-ion batteries. His research has earned him numerous national and international awards, including the Global Energy Prize, IEEE Medal for Environmental Safety Technologies, European Inventor Award and the Charles Stark Draper Prize. He is currently a fellow and general manager of the Asahi Kasei Corporation in Japan and president of the Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center. Yoshino holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from Kyoto University and a doctorate from Osaka University.


2019 Chemistry Nobel Prize AIP Publishing Journal Articles →

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