Batteries power savants’ Nobel win
John Goodenough of the United States―at 97 the oldest person to be awarded a Nobel prize―joins Britain’s Stanley Whittingham and Japan’s Akira Yoshino in sharing the nine million Swedish kronor (about $914,000 or 833,000 euros) prize sum equally. “This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles... [and] can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society,” the jury said. “Lithium batteries have revolutionised our lives since they first entered the market in 1991,” it said, adding they were “of the greatest benefit to humankind.” The three will receive the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of scientist Alfred Nobel who created the prizes in his last will and testament. Last year, the honor went to US scientists Frances Arnold and George Smith and British researcher Gregory Winter for developing enzymes used for greener and safer chemistry and antibody drugs with less side effects. Arnold was just the fifth woman to clinch chemistry’s most prestigious honour since Marie Curie was honoured in 1911. This year’s Nobel prize season kicked off on Monday with the Medicine Prize awarded to Americans William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza, and Britain’s Peter Ratcliffe.