Jan. 18, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 8

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    Alumnus Goodenough receives Japan Prize

    Chicago alumnus John Goodenough (PHY. S.M., ’51, Ph.D., ’52) has received the $450,000 Japan Prize for his discoveries of the materials critical to the development of lightweight rechargeable batteries.

    Goodenough, who received his master’s degree and his doctorate in chemistry at Chicago, holds the Virginia Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

    He will be the 25th American to receive the prize at a presentation in Tokyo in April and will be honored in the category of Science and Technology of Environmentally Conscious Materials. He will receive a certificate of merit, a commemorative medal and a cash award of 50 million yen, approximately $450,000.

    The Science and Technology Foundation of Japan administers the prize, which honors scientists from around the world who have made original and outstanding achievements in science and technology. Forty-five scientists have been named winners of the Japan Prize since it was established in 1985.

    Goodenough’s discovery of lithium manganese oxide and lithium cobalt oxide has been critical to the development of lightweight and high-energy density rechargeable batteries that power various portable or mobile instruments. The environmentally benign lithium battery is replacing rechargeable batteries that use lead and cadmium.

    The increasing use of lithium batteries in hybrid and electric-powered cars may be a significant contribution to the protection of urban environments by reducing the total level of carbon dioxide emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles.

    Goodenough also has garnered the 1999 Olin Palladium Award from the Electrochemical Society and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the highest rank attainable in engineering in the United States.