John B. Goodenough, a professor who played a critical role in the development of the lithium-ion batteries that are now ubiquitous in the devices we rely on every day, died on Sunday, The University of Texas at Austin announced. He was 100 years old.
Goodenough’s key battery breakthrough happened more than 40 years ago. “He and his research team found that by using lithium cobalt oxide as the cathode of a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, it would be possible to achieve a high density of stored energy with an anode other than metallic lithium,” according to the university’s blog post.
But even though lithium-ion batteries are everywhere — you can find them in things like smartphones, tablets, laptops, video game consoles, and even electric vehicles — Goodenough made no royalties for the work he did on the battery, according to The New York Times. “Caring little for money, he signed away most of his rights,” the publication wrote in its obituary.
In 2019, Goodenough became the oldest person to ever receive a Nobel Prize, and he was jointly awarded the honor with Stanley Whittingham of the State University of New York at Binghamton and Akira Yoshino of Meijo University.
If you want to learn more about Goodenough’s life, I strongly suggest reading The New York Times’ obituary in full, which features an interview from Goodenough that was conducted in 2017.