John B. Goodenough

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John Goodenough
John Bannister Goodenough

(1922-07-25) July 25, 1922 (age 96)
Jena, Germany
ResidenceTexas, US
Alma mater
Known forLi-ion rechargeable battery, Goodenough–Kanamori rules
AwardsJapan Prize (2001)
Enrico Fermi Award (2009)
National Medal of Science (2011)
Charles Stark Draper Prize (2014)
Welch Award (2017)
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorClarence Zener
Notable studentsBill David (postdoc)[1]

John Bannister Goodenough (born 25 July 1922 in Jena, Germany) is a German-born American professor and solid-state physicist. He is currently a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at The University of Texas at Austin. He is widely credited for the identification and development of the Li-ion rechargeable battery as well as for developing the Goodenough–Kanamori rules for determining the sign of the magnetic superexchange in materials. In 2014, he received the Charles Stark Draper Prize for his contributions to the lithium-ion battery.[2]


Goodenough attended boarding school at Groton School[3] before receiving a B.S. in Mathematics, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1944, where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[4] After serving in the US Army as a meteorologist[5] in World War II, he returned to complete a Ph.D. in Physics under the supervision of Clarence Zener at the University of Chicago in 1952.

Early career at Lincoln Laboratory[edit]

During his early career, he was a research scientist at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. 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.

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, where he identified and developed LixCoO2 as the cathode material of choice for the Li-ion rechargeable battery that is now ubiquitous in today's portable electronic devices. Although Sony is responsible for the commercialization of the technology, he is widely credited for its original identification and development. He received the Japan Prize in 2001 for his discoveries of the materials critical to the development of lightweight rechargeable batteries.

Professorship at The University of Texas at Austin[edit]

Since 1986, he has been a Professor at The University of Texas at Austin in the Cockrell School of Engineering departments of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.[6] During his tenure there, he has continued his research on ionic conducting solids and electrochemical devices. His group has identified LixFePO4 as a less costly cathode material that is safe for power applications such as machine tools and Hybrid electric vehicles. His group has also identified various promising electrode and electrolyte materials for solid oxide fuel cells. He currently holds the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering.

Goodenough still works at the university at age 96, hoping to find another breakthrough in battery technology.[7][8]

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 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.[9][8][10][11] Goodenough and colleague Maria Helena Braga hold a patent via University of Texas for solid-state electrolytes and they continue to advance battery-related research, working on several more patents.[12]

Fundamental investigations throughout his career[edit]

On the fundamental side, his research has focused on magnetism (e.g. the Goodenough–Kanamori rules) and on the transition from magnetic-insulator to metallic behavior in transition-metal oxides. On the basis of the Virial Theorem, he recognized that this transition should be first-order and should, where the phase transition occurs at too low a temperature for atomic diffusion, result in lattice instabilities. At this crossover, these instabilities lead to charge-density waves in single-valent oxides and to phase-fluctuations in mixed-valent oxides. The phase fluctuations are responsible for such unusual physical properties as high-temperature superconductivity in copper oxides and a colossal magnetoresistance in manganese and cobalt oxides.

He also recently helped develop the glass battery, a developmental battery with a glass electrolyte that is claimed to exceed current lithium-ion batteries in energy density, operating temperature range, and safety.[13][9]


Professor Goodenough is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Sciences, and the Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales of Spain. He has authored more than 550 articles, 85 book chapters and reviews, and five books, including two seminal works, Magnetism and the Chemical Bond (1963) and Les oxydes des metaux de transition (1973). Goodenough is a co-recipient of the 2009 Enrico Fermi Award. This presidential award is one of the oldest and most prestigious given by the U.S. government and carries an honorarium of $375,000. He shares the honor with Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker, professor at the Management Science and Engineering Department of Stanford University. In 2010 he was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society.[14] On February 1, 2013, Goodenough was presented with the National Medal of Science.[15] 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.[16]

The Royal Society of Chemistry grants a John B Goodenough Award in his honour.[17]

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.”[18]




  • John B. Goodenough (1963). Magnetism and the Chemical Bond. Interscience-Wiley, New York. ISBN 0-88275-384-3.
  • John B. Goodenough (1973). Les oxydes des métaux de transition. Paris: Gauthier-Villars.
  • John B. Goodenough, ed. (2001). Structure & Bonding, V. 98.


  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. ^ Charles Stark Draper Prize News, National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  3. ^ LeVine, Steve (5 February 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 5 February 2015.
  4. ^ Goodenough, John B. (2008). Witness to Grace. PublishAmerica. ISBN 9781462607570.
  5. ^ "His current quest | The University of Chicago Magazine". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  6. ^ Henderson, Jim (June 5, 2004). "UT professor, 81, is mired in patent lawsuit". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  7. ^ LeVine, Steve (5 February 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 5 March 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Introduces New Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries". Cockrell School of Engineering. 28 February 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  9. ^ a b Braga, M.H.; Grundish, N.S.; Murchison, A.J.; Goodenough, J.B. (2016-12-09). "Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery". Energy and Environmental Science. doi:10.1039/C6EE02888H. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  10. ^ "Lithium-ion battery inventor introduces new technology for fast-charging, noncombustible batteries". EurekAlert!. 28 February 2017.
  11. ^ Solid State Batteries For Electric Cars: A New Breakthrough By The Father of the Lithium-Ion Battery on YouTube
  12. ^ "Lithium-Ion Battery Inventor Introduces New Technology for Fast-Charging, Noncombustible Batteries". UT News | The University of Texas at Austin. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  13. ^ Tirone, Johnathan (15 March 2017). "Google's Schmidt Flags Promise in New Goodenough Battery". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Foreign Members". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  15. ^ "Obama honors recipients of science, innovation and technology medals". CBS. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
  16. ^ Welch Award 2017
  17. ^ "Royal Society of Chemistry - John B Goodenough Award". Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  18. ^ [1]

Further reading[edit]

  • John N. Lalena; David A. Cleary (2005). Principles of Inorganic Materials Design. Wiley-Intersciece. pp. xi–xiv, 233–269. ISBN 0-471-43418-3.

External links[edit]