Goodenough Wins Japan Prize for Discovery of Lithium Compounds

April 24, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan will recognize Dr. John B. Goodenough with an award of 50 million yen, approximately $420,000, for the discovery of materials critical to the development of rechargeable lithium batteries. A professor at the University of Texas (Austin, TX), Dr. Goodenough is the twenty-fifth American to receive the honor. He will be honored in the prize category of “Science and Technology of Environment-Conscious Materials," and will receive a certificate of merit, a commemorative medal, and the cash prize.

Dr. Goodenough's discovery of lithium cobalt oxide and lithium manganese oxide has been critical to the development of lightweight and high-energy density rechargeable batteries that power portable IT instruments. The lithium battery is replacing rechargeable batteries that use lead and cadmium and is increasingly being employed in hybrid and electric-powered cars.

More than half of the 45 Japan Prize winners have been US scientists. Five of the 45 winners have been Nobel laureates. The international award was established in 1985, by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan. This year, the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan is also honoring Dr. Timothy R. Parsons from Canada for achievements in marine biology.