John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino jointly received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of light-weight lithium-ion batteries, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced Wednesday in Stockholm.
"Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our lives and are being used in all areas, from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles," the Nobel Prize committee said in a statement after the announcement. "With their work, this year's award winners have laid the foundation for a wireless society without fossil fuels."
Why did they win?
The two other scientists developed new innovations based on this battery.
Professor Goodenough discovered that the cathode would have greater potential if made with a different material, and showed that cobalt oxide with embedded lithium ions could produce a higher voltage.
Professor Yoshino then removed pure lithium from the battery and instead used only safer lithium ions. He created in 1985 the first commercially available lithium-ion battery.
Why is work so important?
Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized electronics – and our lives – since their launch in 1991. Discoveries have led to the development of sustainable and renewable batteries that were light enough to make portable electronics an integral part of modern life.
The batteries help mitigate the effects of climate change by enabling a switch from fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable forms.
"The development of these batteries is a big step forward, so we can really save solar and wind energy," said Sara Snogerup Linse, chairwoman of the Nobel Committee on Chemistry.
Who are the winners?  John B. Goodenough is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Even before the Nobel Prize, he was known for his work, which led to the invention of the lithium-ion battery.
M. Stanley Whittingham is a professor at Binghamton University of the State University of New York. On his biography page for the university, he said his goal was to improve the storage capacity of electrochemical devices to improve the viability of renewable solar and wind energy, and to increase the range and cost of electric vehicles.
Akira Yoshino is an Honorary Fellow of the Asahi Kasei Corporation in Tokyo and a professor at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan. A profile last year described him as the "father of lithium-ion batteries" and he received the prestigious Japan Prize for his work on the subject.
Professor Yoshino spoke after the announcement with reporters was "amazing" and "surprising." He said that "curiosity" was the driving force behind his work, but added that he was pleased that his contributions could help fight climate change.
"Climate change is a very serious problem for humanity," he said, calling lithium-ion batteries "suitable for a sustainable society."
Who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2018?
The award went to Frances H. Arnold and George P. Smith, both from the United States, and Gregory P. Winter, England, for work that used the power of evolutionary biology to develop molecules with a range of practical applications, such as for example, new medicines, more efficient and less toxic reactions in the production of chemicals and vegetable fuels as a substitute for ground-derived oil, gas and coal.
Dr. Arnold was only the fifth woman to win the award.
Who received a Nobel Prize this year?
The Prize for Medicine and Physiology was awarded to William G. Kaelin Jr., Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza for their work on discovering how cells perceive and adapt to oxygen availability.
The Physics Prize went to three scientists who changed our view of the cosmos: James Peebles, emeritus professor at Princeton University, shared half the price of theories that explain how the universe is swirling in galaxies and what we see in the night sky, and for much that we can not see.
When will the other Nobel Prizes be announced this year?