The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday, singling out John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino "for the development of lithium-ion batteries".
The announcement followed the revelation on Monday that the Nobel Prize in Medicine had been awarded to William Kaelin Jr, Peter Ratcliffe, and Gregg Semenza "for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability". And, on Tuesday, the academy named the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics, highlighting James Peebles "for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology" and Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz "for the discovery of an exo-planet orbiting a solar-type star".The winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature will be announced on Thursday.
The king of Sweden will formally present all of the awards at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec 10 – the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish scientist and businessman who set up a fund upon his death that established the annual awards.
As of last year, 180 individuals had been presented with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
In announcing this year's winners, Olof Ramstrom, of the chemistry prize committee said: "This is a highly charged story of tremendous potential."
He said batteries in less efficient forms have been around for a very long time but "it's really a hard job to make a new good battery".
Goodenough, at 97, became the oldest person to be awarded a Nobel Prize.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, one of the original five Nobel Prizes, is presented annually under the supervision of the Nobel Foundation and is considered to be one of the most prestigious acknowledgements that can be bestowed on a scientist working in the field.
The winners are chosen each year following a long process that starts with several thousand prominent scientists and past winners filling out questionnaires being polled for their suggestions. The list of names generated is then whittled down through analysis of the work they produced, until a shortlist is compiled of about 15 names. Members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences then vote for their top pick.
Past winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry include Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Carl Bosch, and Roger Tsien. Winning discoveries include work on understanding radioactivity, the design and synthesis of molecular machines, DNA repair, and the development of conductive polymers.