Professor John B. Goodenough (1922-2023)

St Catherine’s College is saddened to share the news that Professor John B. Goodenough, Honorary Fellow, has died aged 100.

Professor Goodenough was Professorial Fellow of Inorganic Chemistry 1976-1986, Emeritus Fellow 1988-2010, and had been an Honorary Fellow of St Catz since 2010.

He received a BS in Mathematics from Yale University summa cum laude before serving in the US Army during World War II. After obtaining a PhD in Physics from the University of Chicago and conducting research at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, Professor Goodenough joined the University of Oxford as Head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory in 1976 and became a Professorial Fellow at St Catherine’s.

During his time at Oxford, Professor Goodenough, along with Koichi Mizushima, Philip C Jones and Philip J Wiseman, identified the cathode material that enabled development of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This breakthrough ushered in the age of portable electronic devices. Goodenough’s original lithium-cobalt-oxide based cathode is still used in the lithium-ion batteries found in almost all personal electronics like smartphones and tablets.

Professor Goodenough returned to the USA to join the University of Texas in 1986. In May 2019 he was awarded the Royal Society’s Copley Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to materials science, and later that same year was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with M Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for his work at Oxford.

St Catherine’s College established the Goodenough Fellowship in Chemistry in his honour.

Photograph courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin.