STOCKHOLM: Japanese scientist Akira Yoshino, one of the three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, on Sunday stressed the importance of batteries to realize a sustainable society.
“Innovation all around will enable a sustainable society to be achieved very soon,” Yoshino, 71, said in his Nobel lecture at Stockholm University in the Swedish capital.
Batteries “will play a central role,” added Yoshino, honorary fellow of Japanese chemical maker Asahi Kasei Corp.
Yoshino, John Goodenough, 97, and Stanley Whittingham, 77, won the prize for the development of lithium-ion batteries.
Yoshino gave his lecture, titled “Brief History and Future of Lithium-ion Batteries,” after the two cowinners. He explained how the batteries were developed and how they contribute to efforts to resolve environmental problems.
Behind the discovery of a key electrode material were research results achieved by two Japanese Nobel laureates–the late Kenichi Fukui and University of Tsukuba Professor Emeritus Hideki Shirakawa, 83, Yoshino said.
Lithium-ion batteries are a “very, very fortunate fellow,” born with the support of eight Nobel laureates, Yoshino said.
As a reason for the selection of the lithium-ion battery researchers for this year’s prize, Yoshino cited expectations for the batteries’ contributions to efforts to build a sustainable society.
The clash between environmental protection and the pursuit of economy and convenience can be resolved, he said, expressing confidence about the role lithium-ion batteries will play.
Among his best decisions in life, he cited his advance to Kyoto University and his marriage to his wife, Kumiko, 71. Yoshino drew laughs when he called her a “wonderful woman.”
When he finished the lecture, he received a thunder of applause. He shook hands with Goodenough in a wheelchair.
On Tuesday, Yoshino will attend the award ceremony, which will be followed by a banquet.