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Three Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their Contributions to Development of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said the prize was about ``a rechargeable world"

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Scientists, Nobel Prize, Chemistry
Goran K Hansson, Secretary-General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and academy members, announce the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Oct. 9, 2019. VOA

Three scientists on Wednesday were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their contributions to the development of lithium-ion batteries, which have reshaped energy storage and transformed cars, mobile phones and many other devices in an increasingly portable and electronic world.

The prize went to John B. Goodenough of the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham of the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Akira Yoshino of Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University in Japan.

Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said the prize was about “a rechargeable world.”

In a statement, the committee said lithium-ion batteries “have revolutionized our lives” — and the laureates “laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society.”

Scientists, Nobel Prize, Chemistry
The prize went to John B. Goodenough of the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham of the State University of New York at Binghamton; and Akira Yoshino of Asahi Kasei Corporation. Pixabay

The Nobel committee said the lithium-ion battery has its roots in the oil crisis in the 1970s, when Whittingham was working to develop methods aimed at leading to fossil fuel-free energy technologies.

The prizes come with a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma that are conferred on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896 — in Stockholm and in Oslo, Norway.

Prize founder Alfred Nobel, a Swedish industrialist who invented dynamite, decided the physics, chemistry, medicine and literature prizes should be awarded in Stockholm, and the peace prize in Oslo.

On Tuesday, Canadian-born James Peebles won the Physics Prize for his theoretical discoveries in cosmology together with Swiss scientists Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, who were honored for finding an exoplanet — a planet outside our solar system — that orbits a solar-type star.

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Americans William G. Kaelin Jr. and Gregg L. Semenza and Britain’s Peter J. Ratcliffe won the Nobel Prize for advances in physiology or medicine on Monday. They were cited for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.”

Two literature laureates are to be announced Thursday, because last year’s award was suspended after a scandal rocked the Swedish Academy. The coveted Nobel Peace Prize is Friday and the economics award on Monday. (VOA)

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Chinese Researchers Spot Monster Black Hole Bigger Than Sun

Chinese team spots monster black hole which is 70 times bigger than Sun

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Black Hole
A team of Chinese scientists spotted a black hole that is 70 times larger than the sun. (Representational Image Only). Wikimedia Commons

A team led by Chinese researchers has spotted a monster black hole with a mass 70 times greater than Sun — toppling the earlier assumption that the mass of an individual black hole in our Galaxy is no more than 20 times that of Sun.

Our Milky Way Galaxy is estimated to contain 100 million stellar black holes — cosmic bodies formed by the collapse of massive stars and so dense even light can’t escape.

The team, headed by Professor LIU Jifeng of the National Astronomical Observatory of China of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), spotted a stellar black hole with a mass 70 times greater than the Sun.

The monster black hole is located 15 thousand light-years from Earth and has been named “LB-1” by the researchers in a paper reported in the journal Nature.

“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our Galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” said LIU.

“We thought that very massive stars with the chemical composition typical of our Galaxy must shed most of their gas in powerful stellar winds, as they approach the end of their life. Therefore, they should not leave behind such a massive remnant,” he explained.

Spotting black hole
The monster black hole is located 15 thousand light-years from Earth. (Representational Image Only). Wikimedia Commons

Until just a few years ago, stellar black holes could only be discovered when they gobbled up gas from a companion star.

The vast majority of stellar black holes in our Galaxy are not engaged in a cosmic banquet, though, and thus don’t emit revealing X-rays.

As a result, only about two dozen Galactic stellar black holes have been well identified and measured.

To counter this limitation, LIU and collaborators surveyed the sky with China’s Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST).

After the initial discovery, the world’s largest optical telescopes – Spain’s 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias and the 10-m Keck I telescope in the US – were used to determine the system’s physical parameters.
The results were nothing short of fantastic: a star eight times heavier than the Sun was seen orbiting a 70-solar-mass black hole, every 79 days.

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The direct sighting of LB-1 proves that this population of over-massive stellar black holes exists even in our own backyard.

“This discovery forces us to re-examine our models of how stellar-mass black holes form,” said LIGO Director Professor David Reitze from University of Florida in the US. (IANS)