Friday, April 7, 2017

Batteries: a technology that never gets old.

The New York Times rarely talks about my favorite subject, but when they do, I feel the need to spread the word (I hope their servers can handle the traffic this plug is going to generate). 

This article is about John Goodenough, who invented a key material in the battery that powers pretty much every device we own.  He then went on to invent a few more of these materials. 

I have been known to be rather distressed by the fact that he has not gotten the prize yet.  I suppose discoveries that have changed the way we interact with the world don’t typically qualify.  Rather, the prize is reserved for ones that appear to show enormous promise to change something sometime in the distant future, continue to show said promise for three decades and will continue to show that promise for three more.  Buckeyballs anyone? 

Prof. Goodneough is now in the middle of a controversy with his recent paper where he claims a new way to think of how energy is stored in a battery.  I’m ambivalent about blogs and news reports suddenly trying to be scientific journals.  I think the scientific method of reproduction, verification, peer review etc. should be followed.

Irrespective of the controversy, Prof. Goodenough is a legend.  You can read more about his deep intellect here. 

Also, if you are feeling old, the Times article is a real picker-upper.   Maybe I do have hope and will find the next breakthrough.  I do have the formula dialed in!


p.s. For all seven regular readers, I do know that I have been AWOL from blogging.  Hoping to change that.   


  1. Great blog entry! - thanks for making the link to the 2001 interview - his thoughts on "long-range targeted research" are really insightful and have influenced me strongly over the past decade. James Miners

  2. Hi Venkat, Good to see your updating of your blog. Read with interest Prof. JBG's paper....if its real, hope it will may fetch him the Nobel prize. Every summer, I look for his name to appear in the Noble Prize, along with Prof. Stanly Whittingham. I am more optimistic about an all-oxide SSLiB. Thomas (who was at ITN, Now at Hazen Resaerch)

  3. Ahem :). The internet, at its corse, is a place to discuss things. If the pop-sci media, and now the NTY, was a bit more careful about reading what they praise there would be less need for such a digestion.