John B. Goodenough, 100, Dies; Nobel-Winning Creator of the Lithium-Ion Battery

In his memoir, Witness to Grace (2008), he said he was the unwanted child of an agnostic Yale professor of religion and a mother who never bonded. With no friends other than his three siblings, a dog and a maid, he grew up lonely and dyslexic in an emotionally distant home. He was sent to a private boarding school at age 12 and had little contact with his parents.

Through patience, counseling, and a fierce struggle for self-improvement, he overcame his reading disability. He studied Latin and Greek at Groton, mathematics at Yale, meteorology at the Army Air Corps during World War II, and the University of Chicago under Clarence Zenner, Edward Teller, and Enrico Fermi. in physics and received his Ph.D. in 1952.

He was a member of the team at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in the 1950s and ’60s that laid the groundwork for computer random access memory (RAM) and developed plans for America’s first air defense system. In 1976, when federal funding for research at MIT ended, he moved to Oxford, where he taught and managed a chemistry lab, where he began working on batteries.

Essentially, a battery is a device that moves charged atoms, known as ions, from one side to the other, creating a current that powers anything connected to it. Two sides, called electrodes, carry an electric charge. The negative side is called the anode and the positive side is called the cathode. The medium between them through which ions travel is the electrolyte.

When the battery releases energy, positively charged ions shuttle from the anode to the cathode, creating an electric current. Plugging a rechargeable battery into a socket and drawing electricity forces the ions back and forth to the anode where they are stored until they are needed again. The materials used for the anode, cathode, and electrolyte determine the amount and velocity of ions, which in turn determines the power output of the battery.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button