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Japan’s Yoshino, two others win Nobel Prize in Chemistry for development of lithium-ion batteries

Akira Yoshino, 71, is the eighth Japanese scientist to have been awarded the chemistry Nobel.


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Updated: October 10, 2019

Chemist Akira Yoshino shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry with scientists John Goodenough and Stanley Whittingham for the development of lithium-ion batteries, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Wednesday.

Yoshino, 71, an honorary fellow at Asahi Kasei Corp., is the eighth Japanese scientist to receive a chemistry Nobel.

A prize of 9 million Swedish kronor (about ¥97 million) will be shared among the three winners.

The award ceremony for this year’s Nobel Prizes will be held in Stockholm on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel.

The previous time a Japanese won a Nobel in chemistry was in 2010, when Akira Suzuki, professor emeritus at Hokkaido University, and Ei-ichi Negishi, distinguished professor of Purdue University in the United States, shared the prestigious prize.

Yoshino was born in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, in 1948. After graduating from Kyoto University’s graduate school as an engineering student in 1972, he entered Asahi Kasei the same year. He served in such positions as chief of the firm’s ion secondary battery business group and head of the cell material business development office.

In 1985, Yoshino developed a method using a carbon compound as a material for negative electrodes, leading to the completion of the lithium-ion cell.

Lithium-ion batteries are an essential source of power for portable information technology devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers. In the future, they may be more widely used to power electric cars and aid in the fight against global warming, according to observers.

Goodenough was born in 1922 and is affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin. Whittingham was born in 1941 and is affiliated with Binghamton University of the State University of New York.



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