John B. Goodenough

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John B. Goodenough
Goodenough in 2019
John Bannister Goodenough

(1922-07-25)July 25, 1922
Jena, Thuringia, German Reich
DiedJune 25, 2023(2023-06-25) (aged 100)
Known for
Irene Wiseman
(m. 1951; died 2016)
Scientific career
ThesisA theory of the deviation from close packing in hexagonal metal crystals (1952)
Doctoral advisorClarence Zener
Notable students

John Bannister Goodenough (/ˈɡʊdɪnʌf/ GUUD-in-uf;[3] July 25, 1922 – June 25, 2023) was an American materials scientist, a solid-state physicist, and a Nobel laureate in chemistry. From 1996 he was a professor of Mechanical,[4] Materials Science, and Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He is credited with identifying the Goodenough–Kanamori rules of the sign of the magnetic superexchange in materials, with developing materials for computer random-access memory and with inventing cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries.

Goodenough was born in Jena, German Reich (Weimar Republic), to American parents. During and after graduating from Yale University, Goodenough served as a U.S. military meteorologist in World War II. He went on to obtain his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Chicago, became a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and later the head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford.

Goodenough was awarded the National Medal of Science, the Copley Medal, the Fermi Award, the Draper Prize, and the Japan Prize. The John B. Goodenough Award in materials science is named for him. In 2019, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, and, at 97 years old, became the oldest Nobel laureate in history.[5] From August 27, 2021, until his death, he was the oldest living Nobel Prize laureate.

Personal life and education[edit]

John Goodenough was born in Jena, Germany, on July 25, 1922,[6] to American parents, Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough (1893–1965) and Helen Miriam (Lewis) Goodenough.[7] His father was working on his Ph.D. at the Harvard Divinity School at the time of John's birth and later became a professor in the history of religion at Yale University. John's brother, the late Ward Goodenough, was a University of Pennsylvania anthropologist. The brothers attended boarding school at Groton in Massachusetts.[8] John Goodenough suffered from dyslexia,[9] when it was poorly understood by the medical community and went untreated. He could not read at Groton and did not do well in his classes. Instead he found interest in exploring Nature, plants and animals.[10]

John also had two half-siblings from his father's second marriage: Ursula Goodenough, who is an emeritus professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis; and Daniel A. Goodenough, emeritus professor of biology at Harvard Medical School. In 1944, John Goodenough received a BS in mathematics, summa cum laude from Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[11]

After serving in the U.S. Army as a meteorologist[12] in World War II, Goodenough went to the University of Chicago to complete a master's degree and was awarded a Ph.D. in physics in 1952.[13] His doctoral supervisor was Clarence Zener, a theorist in electrical breakdown, and he worked and studied with physicists, including Enrico Fermi and John A. Simpson. While at Chicago, he met Canadian history graduate student Irene Wiseman.[14][15] They married in 1951.[16][17] The couple had no children.[17] Irene died in 2016.[15] He was a Protestant Christian.[18][19] [1]

Goodenough turned 100 on July 25, 2022.[20] He died at an assisted living facility in Austin, Texas, on June 25, 2023, one month shy of what would have been his 101st birthday.[21][22][9]

Career and research[edit]

Goodenough discusses his research and career.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory[edit]

After his studies, Goodenough was a research scientist and team leader at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory for 24 years. During this time he was part of an interdisciplinary team responsible for developing random access magnetic memory. His research efforts on RAM led him to develop the concepts of cooperative orbital ordering, also known as a cooperative Jahn–Teller distortion, in oxide materials, and subsequently led to his developing the rules for the sign of the magnetic superexchange in materials, now known as the Goodenough–Kanamori rules (with Junjiro Kanamori).[23]

Tenure at the University of Oxford[edit]

Blue plaque erected by the Royal Society of Chemistry commemorating work towards the rechargeable lithium-ion battery at Oxford

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he continued his career as head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory at University of Oxford. Among the highlights of his work at Oxford, Goodenough is credited with significant research essential to the development of commercial lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.[23] Goodenough was able to expand upon previous work from M. Stanley Whittingham on battery materials, and found in 1980 that by using LixCoO2 as a lightweight, high energy density cathode material, he could double the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

Although Goodenough saw a commercial potential of batteries with his LiCoO2 and LiNiO2 cathodes and approached Oxford University with a request to patent this invention, Oxford refused. Unable to afford the patenting expenses with his academic salary, Goodenough turned to UK's Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, which accepted his offer, but under the terms, which provided zero royalty payment to the inventors John B. Goodenough and Koichi Mizushima. In 1990, the AERE licensed Goodenough's patents to Sony Corporation, which was followed by other battery manufacturers. It was estimated, that the AERE made over 10 mln. British pounds from this licensing.[24]

The work at Sony on further improvements to Goodenough's invention was led by Akira Yoshino, who had developed a scaled up design of the battery and manufacturing process.[25] Goodenough received the Japan Prize in 2001 for his discoveries of the materials critical to the development of lightweight high energy density rechargeable lithium batteries,[26] and he, Whittingham, and Yoshino shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their research in lithium-ion batteries.[25]

Professor at University of Texas[edit]

From 1986, Goodenough was a professor at The University of Texas at Austin in the Cockrell School of Engineering departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.[27] During his tenure there, he continued his research on ionic conducting solids and electrochemical devices; he stated that he continued to study improved materials for batteries to help promote the development of electric vehicles and help to reduce human dependency on fossil fuels.[28] Arumugam Manthiram and Goodenough discovered the polyanion class of cathodes.[29][30][31] They showed that positive electrodes containing polyanions, e.g., sulfates, produce higher voltages than oxides due to the inductive effect of the polyanion. The polyanion class includes materials such as lithium-iron phosphates that are used for smaller devices like power tools.[32] His group also identified various promising electrode and electrolyte materials for solid oxide fuel cells.[33] He held the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering.[34]

Goodenough still worked at the university at age 98 as of 2021,[35] hoping to find another breakthrough in battery technology.[36][37]

On February 28, 2017, Goodenough and his team at the University of Texas published a paper in the journal Energy and Environmental Science on their demonstration of a glass battery, a low-cost all-solid-state battery that is noncombustible and has a long cycle life with a high volumetric energy density, and fast rates of charge and discharge. Instead of liquid electrolytes, the battery uses glass electrolytes that enable the use of an alkali-metal anode without the formation of dendrites.[38][37][39][40] However, this paper was met with widespread skepticism by the battery research community and remains controversial after several follow-up works. The work was criticized for a lack of comprehensive data,[41] spurious interpretations of the data obtained,[41] and that the proposed mechanism of battery operation would violate the first law of thermodynamics.[42][43]

In April 2020, a patent was filed for the glass battery on behalf of Portugal's National Laboratory of Energy and Geology (LNEG), the University of Porto, Portugal, and the University of Texas.[44]

Advisory work[edit]

In 2010, Goodenough joined the technical advisory board of Enevate, a silicon-dominant Li-ion battery technology startup based in Irvine, California.[45] Goodenough also served as an adviser to the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a collaboration led by Argonne National Laboratory and funded by the Department of Energy.[46] From 2016, Goodenough also worked as an adviser for Battery500, a national consortium led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.[47][48]

Fundamental investigations[edit]

On the fundamental side, Goodenough‘s research focused on magnetism and on the metal–insulator transition behavior in transition-metal oxides. Along with Junjiro Kanamori, Goodenough developed a set of semi-empirical rules to predict magnetism in these materials in the 1950s and 1960s, now called the Goodenough–Kanamori rules, forming the basis of superexchange,[49][50][51] which is a core property for high-temperature superconductivity.


Goodenough receiving the 2010 Enrico Fermi Award from then- US Energy Secretary, Steven Chu.

Professor Goodenough was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1976 for his work designing materials for electronic components and clarifying the relationships between the properties, structures, and chemistry of substances. He was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Sciences, the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, India.[52] He authored more than 550 articles, 85 book chapters and reviews, and five books, including two seminal works, Magnetism and the Chemical Bond (1963)[53] and Les oxydes des metaux de transition (1973).[33] Goodenough was a co-recipient of the 2009 Enrico Fermi Award for his work in lithium-ion batteries, alongside Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University who received the award for his work in plutonium metallurgy.[54]

In 2010, he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society.[55] On February 1, 2013, Goodenough was presented with the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama of the United States.[56] He was awarded the Draper Prize in engineering.[57] In 2015 he was listed along with M Stanley Whittingham, for pioneering research leading to the development of the lithium-ion battery on a list of Clarivate Citation Laureates for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry by Thomson Reuters. In 2017 he received the Welch Award in Chemistry[58][59] and in 2019 he was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal Society.[60]

The Royal Society of Chemistry granted a John B. Goodenough Award in his honor.[23]

Goodenough received an honorary C.K. Prahalad award from Corporate EcoForum (CEF) in 2017. CEF's founder Rangaswami commented, "John Goodenough is evidence of imagination being put to work for the greater good. We're thrilled to recognize his lifetime of achievements and are hopeful that his latest discovery will have major implications for the future of sustainable battery storage."[61][62]

Goodenough was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on October 9, 2019, for his work on lithium-ion batteries, along with M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. To date he is the oldest person ever to have been awarded the Nobel Prize.[5]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thackeray, M. M.; David, W. I. F.; Bruce, P. G.; Goodenough, J. B. (1983). "Lithium insertion into manganese spinels". Materials Research Bulletin. 18 (4): 461–472. doi:10.1016/0025-5408(83)90138-1.
  2. ^ "John B. Goodenough Nobel Lecture". Nobel Prize.
  3. ^ Expert Opinion with Dr. Goodenough – The Future of Battery Storage (Expert Audience) on YouTube
  4. ^ "Welcome to the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering". Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering.
  5. ^ a b Specia, Megan (October 9, 2019). "Nobel Prize in Chemistry Honors Work on Lithium-Ion Batteries – John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino were recognized for research that "laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil-fuel-free society."". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  6. ^ "John B. Goodenough". American Institute of Physics.
  7. ^ Mattes, Eleanor Bustin (1997). Myth for Moderns: Erwin Ramsdell Goodenough and Religious Studies in America, 1938–1955. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-3339-5 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ LeVine, Steve (February 5, 2015). "The man who brought us the lithium-ion battery at the age of 57 has an idea for a new one at 92". Quartz (publication). Atlantic Media Company. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  9. ^ a b McFadden, Robert (June 26, 2023). "John B. Goodenough, 100, Dies; Nobel-Winning Creator of the Lithium-Ion Battery". The New York Times. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  10. ^ The Powerhouse: America, China, and the Great Battery War. 2016. S. Levine.
  11. ^ Goodenough, John B. (2008). Witness to Grace. PublishAmerica. ISBN 978-1-4626-0757-0 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Gregg, Helen (Summer 2016). "His current quest". The University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Goodenough, John B. (1952). A theory of the deviation from close packing in hexagonal metal crystals (Ph.D. thesis). The University of Chicago. OCLC 44609164 – via ProQuest.
  14. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019".
  15. ^ a b Olinto, Angela (September 9, 2019). "University of Chicago alum John B. Goodenough shares Nobel Prize for invention of lithium-ion battery". UChicago News. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019".
  17. ^ a b McFadden, Robert D. (June 26, 2023). "John B. Goodenough, 100, Dies; Nobel-Winning Creator of the Lithium-Ion Battery". The New York Times.
  18. ^ "Transcript of an interview with John B. Goodenough". July 2, 2019.
  19. ^ October 14th, Eternity News |; Comment, 2019 02:44 PM | Add a (October 14, 2019). "Winners of this year's Nobel prizes follow Jesus – Eternity News". Retrieved May 8, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ Manthiram, Arumugam (July 8, 2022). "John Goodenough's 100th Birthday Celebration: His Impact on Science and Humanity". ACS Energy Letters. 7 (7): 2404–2406. doi:10.1021/acsenergylett.2c01343. ISSN 2380-8195. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  21. ^ "Goodenough, Nobel laureate who gave the world Li-ion batteries, passes away". June 26, 2023. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  22. ^ "UT Mourns Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor and Nobel Prize Recipient John Goodenough". June 26, 2023. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  23. ^ a b c "Royal Society of Chemistry – John B Goodenough Award". Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  24. ^ page 70.
  25. ^ a b Kim, Allen (October 9, 2019). "John B. Goodenough just became the oldest person, at 97, to win a Nobel Prize". CNN. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  26. ^ "The 2001 (17th) Japan Prize". Japan Prize Foundation. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  27. ^ Henderson, Jim (June 5, 2004). "UT professor, 81, is mired in patent lawsuit". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  28. ^ MacFarlene, Sarah (August 9, 2018). "The Battery Pioneer Who, at Age 96, Keeps Going and Going". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  29. ^ Masquelier, Christian; Croguennec, Laurence (2013). "Polyanionic (Phosphates, Silicates, Sulfates) Frameworks as Electrode Materials for Rechargeable Li (or Na) Batteries". Chemical Reviews. 113 (8): 6552–6591. doi:10.1021/cr3001862. PMID 23742145.
  30. ^ Manthiram, A.; Goodenough, J. B. (1989). "Lithium insertion into Fe2(SO4)3 frameworks". Journal of Power Sources. 26 (3–4): 403–408. Bibcode:1989JPS....26..403M. doi:10.1016/0378-7753(89)80153-3.
  31. ^ Manthiram, A.; Goodenough, J. B. (1987). "Lithium insertion into Fe2(MO4)3 frameworks: Comparison of M = W with M = Mo". Journal of Solid State Chemistry. 71 (2): 349–360. Bibcode:1987JSSCh..71..349M. doi:10.1016/0022-4596(87)90242-8.
  32. ^ Lerner, Louise (October 9, 2019). "University of Chicago alum John B. Goodenough shares Nobel Prize for invention of lithium-ion battery". The University of Chicago. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  33. ^ a b Perks, Bea (December 22, 2014). "Goodenough rules". Chemistry World. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  34. ^ "John Goodenough – Department of Mechanical Engineering". University of Texas. Retrieved October 10, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  35. ^ Nobel Prize in Chemistry Goes to John Goodenough of The University of Texas at Austin (October 9, 2019)
  36. ^ LeVine, Steve (February 5, 2015). "The man who brought us the lithium-ion battery at the age of 57 has an idea for a new one at 92". Quartz. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
  37. ^ a b "Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Introduces New Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries". Cockrell School of Engineering. February 28, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  38. ^ Braga, M.H.; Grundish, N.S.; Murchison, A.J.; Goodenough, J.B. (December 9, 2016). "Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery". Energy and Environmental Science. 10: 331–336. doi:10.1039/C6EE02888H.
  39. ^ "Lithium-ion battery inventor introduces new technology for fast-charging, noncombustible batteries". EurekAlert!. February 28, 2017.
  40. ^ Solid State Batteries For Electric Cars: A New Breakthrough By The Father of the Lithium-Ion Battery on YouTube (March 1, 2017)
  41. ^ a b Lacey, Matt (March 29, 2017). "On the skepticism surrounding the "Goodenough battery"". Matt Lacey. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  42. ^ Steingart, Daniel A.; Viswanathan, Venkatasubramanian (January 17, 2018). "Comment on "Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery" by M. H. Braga, N. S. Grundish, A. J. Murchison and J. B. Goodenough, Energy Environ. Sci., 2017, 10, 331–336". Energy & Environmental Science. 11 (1): 221–222. doi:10.1039/C7EE01318C. ISSN 1754-5706.
  43. ^ Steingart, Dan (September 5, 2017). "Redox without Redox". Medium. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  44. ^ Schmidt, Bridie (April 6, 2020). "Li-ion co-inventor patents glass battery that could upturn auto industry". The Driven. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  45. ^ "Enevate Adviser Shares Nobel". OCBJ. October 9, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  46. ^ "His current quest". The University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  47. ^ Ssz57 (July 27, 2016). "Battery Research Consortium Chosen by DOE to Advance Electric Cars". UT News. Retrieved January 28, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  48. ^ "Charging Up the Development of Lithium-Ion Batteries". Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  49. ^ J. B. Goodenough (1955). "Theory of the Role of Covalence in the Perovskite-Type Manganites [La, M(II)]MnO3". Physical Review. 100 (2): 564. Bibcode:1955PhRv..100..564G. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.100.564.
  50. ^ John B. Goodenough (1958). "An interpretation of the magnetic properties of the perovskite-type mixed crystals La1−xSrxCoO3−λ". Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids. 6 (2–3): 287. doi:10.1016/0022-3697(58)90107-0.
  51. ^ J. Kanamori (1959). "Superexchange interaction and symmetry properties of electron orbitals". Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids. 10 (2–3): 87. Bibcode:1959JPCS...10...87K. doi:10.1016/0022-3697(59)90061-7.
  52. ^ "John B. Goodenough". National Academy of Engineering. 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  53. ^ Jacoby, Mitch (September 13, 2017). "Goodenough wins 2017 Welch Award". Chemical and Engineering News. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  54. ^ "Secretary Chu Names 2009 Enrico Fermi Award Winners" (Press release). APS Physics. April 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  55. ^ "John Goodenough". Royal Society. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  56. ^ "Obama honors recipients of science, innovation and technology medals". CBS. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  57. ^ "2014 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering Recipients". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  58. ^ "Past Award Recipients". Welch Award in Chemistry. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  59. ^ The Welch Foundation (October 13, 2017). "2017 Welch Award – Dr. John B. Goodenough" – via Vimeo.
  60. ^ "Inventor of the lithium-ion battery, Professor John Goodenough, awarded Royal Society's prestigious Copley Medal | Royal Society".
  61. ^ "Prahalad Award 2017". Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  62. ^ "Video (4 mins)". YouTube. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]