Today we say happy 95th birthday to UT Austin engineering professor and renowned inventor John Goodenough, who has changed countless lives around the world.
In 1979, his discovery of the lithium-ion battery dramatically shaped the world of consumer electronics. These rechargeable batteries are now used by millions of people every day to power consumer electronics as diverse as cellphones, tablets, cameras and tools. You are probably holding one right now.
In his 90s, Goodenough has never stopped working to push the future of batteries in a more efficient and affordable direction. Earlier this year, his team at UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering created new battery technology made of glass.
Goodenough, who holds the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering, and Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga published their discovery in the peer-reviewed journal Energy & Environmental Science. Their research shows this new technology has three times the energy density of today’s lithium-ion batteries.
In an interview about his recent work with The New York Times, the reporter noted: “The more I talked to Dr. Goodenough, the more I wondered if his brilliance was directly tied to his age. After all, he has been thinking about energy problems longer than just about anyone else on the planet.”
Goodenough says his team’s discovery has the potential to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, which is part of Goodenough’s life mission.
It is also exciting major industry players. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc., recently tweeted:
John Goodenough, inventor of the lithium battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells. Promising! https://t.co/fhhjWEQF8N— Eric Schmidt (@ericschmidt) March 14, 2017
With the promise of all-day battery life and the prospect of more affordable electric cars, Goodenough is not done creating history. For now, on his 95th birthday, he and his team are waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.