John Goodenough, a mechanical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin who is widely credited for the scientific discovery and development of the lithium-ion rechargeable battery, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Goodenough was among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 15 countries elected into the academy for distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. The academy is the country’s most prestigious scientific organization, and election into it is one of the highest honors that can be accorded to a scientist in the United States. Including Goodenough’s election, the number of current faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin elected to the academy is 17.
“Professor Goodenough is an outstanding scientist whose discoveries have led to energy storage technology that has benefited millions around the world and ushered in the modern electronics era,” said President Bill Powers. “He is a great asset to our university and to our students.”
The battery cathode material Goodenough created midway through his career in the late 1970s provided enough voltage within a tiny package to make possible many of today’s high-tech tools. Batteries incorporating his cathode materials are used worldwide for cellphones and other portable wireless devices, power tools, laptops, tablets and electric and hybrid vehicles. As the technology continues to develop, it can be expected to have an enormous impact on the U.S. economy and the environment by helping to reduce carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions.
Goodenough, who holds the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, joined the university’s Cockrell School of Engineering in 1986 and has continued his research on ionic conducting solids and electrochemical devices. His research group has identified an economical cathode material that is safe for power applications such as mobile devices and hybrid electric vehicles.
“Professor Goodenough is leading transformative research and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers,” said Cockrell School of Engineering Dean Gregory L. Fenves. “He exemplifies what we mean when we talk about UT’s exceptional faculty who create positive change for our society through education and research.”
Goodenough has received many honors for his work, including the 2009 Enrico Fermi Award presented on behalf of the White House, and the 2001 Japan Prize, that country’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Goodenough is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the L’Academie des Sciences de L’Institute de France and a fellow of the Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s national academy of science and the oldest known scientific society in the world.