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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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Ice Deposits on Moon’s South Pole may have More than One Source: Research

 Scientists Report on the ages of Ice deposits in the area of the Moon's South Pole

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Moon's South Pole
Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon's south pole. Pixabay

 Researchers have shed light on the ages of ice deposits reported in the area of the Moon’s south pole — information that could help identify the sources of the deposits and help in planning future human exploration.

The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent.

“The ages of these deposits can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice, which helps us understand the sources and distribution of water in the inner solar system,” said study lead author Ariel Deutsch from Brown University.

“For exploration purposes, we need to understand the lateral and vertical distributions of these deposits to figure out how best to access them. These distributions evolve with time, so having an idea of the age is important,” Deutsch said.

For the study, Deutsch worked with Professor Jim Head, and Gregory Neumann from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre.

moon Surface
The ages of these deposits on Moon’s Surface can potentially tell us something about the origin of the ice. Pixabay

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009, the researchers looked at the ages of the large craters in which evidence of south pole ice deposits was found.

To date the craters, researchers count the number of smaller craters that have accrued inside the larger ones.

Scientists have an approximate idea of the pace of impacts over time, so counting craters can help establish the ages of terrains.

The majority of the reported ice deposits are found within large craters formed about 3.1 billion years ago or longer, the study found.

The deposits have a patchy distribution across crater floors, which suggests that the ice has been battered by micrometeorite impacts and other debris over a long period of time.

If those reported ice deposits are indeed ancient, that could have significant implications in terms of exploration and potential resource utilisation, the researchers said.

Lunar Surface
The study published in the journal Icarus suggests that while a majority of those deposits on Moon’s South Pole are likely billions of years old, some may be much more recent. Pixabay

While the majority of ice was in the ancient craters, the researchers also found evidence for ice in smaller craters that, judging by their sharp, well-defined features, appear to be quite fresh.

That suggests that some of the deposits on the south pole got there relatively recently.

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The best way to find out for sure is to send spacecraft to get some samples which event appears to be on the horizon. NASA’s Artemis programme aims to put humans on the Moon by 2024, and plans to fly numerous precursor missions with robotic spacecraft in the meantime, the researchers said. (IANS)