Bar-Ilan University has awarded an honorary doctorate to Prof. M. Stanley Whittingham, distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science at Binghamton University, State University of New York. The British-American chemist and Nobel Prize laureate played a key role in the development of the lithium-ion battery now used in everything from mobile phones to electric vehicles.
“This degree is an expression of the deep appreciation we have for your extraordinary contributions to energy storage, electro-mobility, and other sustainable-energy technologies. For helping to ensure a healthier environment and addressing the challenge of climate change, you have left a vital legacy for generations to come,” University President Prof. Zaban told Prof. Whittingham.
“Israel in particular looks to your innovation to develop much-needed alternative energy technologies and fuel new military and aerospace applications,” added Zaban. “Countless Israeli material scientists and electro-chemists, a great number of whom are my colleagues at Bar-Ilan University, are deeply indebted to your work. It is therefore fitting that you be honored by our university, on behalf of the entire Israeli scientific community.”
Prof. Whittingham is a key figure in the history of the development of lithium-ion batteries, having discovered the concept of intercalation electrodes in the 1970s while working at Exxon. He holds the original patents for the concept of the use of intercalation chemistry in high power-density, highly reversible lithium-ion batteries, and invented the first rechargeable lithium-ion battery in 1977. His work has laid the foundations for later technologies, including portable devices such as smartphones and laptops; power tools; medical devices; and electric vehicles, forever changing the face of society.
Winner in 2003 of the Battery Research Award and selected by Greentech Media in 2012 as one of the top 40 innovators for contributions to advancing green technology, Prof. Whittingham received the prestigious IBA Yeager Award for Lifetime Contribution to Lithium Battery Materials Research in 2012 and was elected a fellow of the Materials Research Society in 2013. In 2019, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Speaking to Prof. Whittingham upon informing him of the honorary doctorate, Prof. Zaban explained, “The Degree Committee has selected you from among a long list of impressive and worthy candidates, not only for your battery innovation, but more so because you have opened the door for technologies that can transform the way the world uses and stores energy — one of the key challenges of our time.”
Bar-Ilan University has awarded honorary degrees since 1971 to leading figures from both Israel and abroad who have made noteworthy contributions to science, scholarship, culture, and the arts, and which in turn have made a meaningful impact on society.