John B. Goodenough, 100, Dies; Nobel-Winning Creator of the Lithium-Ion Battery

John B. Goodenough, the scientist who shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his crucial role in developing the revolutionary lithium-ion battery, the rechargeable power pack that is ubiquitous in today’s wireless electronic devices and electric and hybrid vehicles, died on Sunday at an assisted living facility in Austin, Texas. He was 100.

The University of Texas at Austin, where Dr. Goodenough was a professor of engineering, announced his death.

Until the announcement of his selection as a Nobel laureate, Dr. Goodenough was relatively unknown beyond scientific and academic circles and the commercial titans who exploited his work. He achieved his laboratory breakthrough in 1980 at the University of Oxford, where he created a battery that has populated the planet with smartphones, laptop and tablet computers, lifesaving medical devices like cardiac defibrillators, and clean, quiet plug-in vehicles, including many Teslas, that can be driven on long trips, lessen the impact of climate change and might someday replace gasoline-powered cars and trucks.

Like most modern technological advances, the powerful, lightweight, rechargeable lithium-ion battery is a product of incremental insights by scientists, lab technicians and commercial interests over decades. But for those familiar with the battery’s story, Dr. Goodenough’s contribution is regarded as the crucial link in its development, a linchpin of chemistry, physics and engineering on a molecular scale.

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