M. Stanley Whittingham
Michael Stanley Whittingham

(1941-12-22) 22 December 1941 (age 82)
Nottingham, England
NationalityBritish, American
Alma materNew College, Oxford (BA, MA, DPhil)
Known forLithium-ion battery
AwardsNobel Prize in Chemistry (2019)
Scientific career
InstitutionsBinghamton University
ThesisMicrobalance studies of some oxide systems (1968)
Doctoral advisorPeter Dickens
Other academic advisorsRobert Huggins (post-doc)

Michael Stanley Whittingham (born 22 December 1941) is a British-American chemist. He is a professor of chemistry and director of both the Institute for Materials Research and the Materials Science and Engineering program at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He also serves as director of the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage (NECCES) of the U.S. Department of Energy at Binghamton. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2019 alongside Akira Yoshino and John B. Goodenough.[1][2]

Whittingham is a key figure in the history of lithium-ion batteries, which are used in everything from mobile phones to electric vehicles. He discovered intercalation electrodes and thoroughly described intercalation reactions in rechargeable batteries in the 1970s. He holds the patents on the concept of using intercalation chemistry in high power-density, highly reversible lithium-ion batteries. He also invented the first rechargeable lithium metal battery (LMB), patented in 1977 and assigned to Exxon for commercialization in small devices and electric vehicles. Whittingham's rechargeable lithium metal battery is based on a LiAl anode and an intercalation-type TiS2 cathode. His work on lithium batteries laid the foundation for others' developments, so he is called the founding father of lithium-ion batteries.[3]

Education and career

Whittingham was born in Nottingham, England, on 22 December 1941.[4][5] He was educated at Stamford School from 1951 to 1960, before going up to New College, Oxford to read chemistry. At the University of Oxford, he took his BA (1964), MA (1967), and DPhil (1968).[6] After completing his graduate studies, Whittingham became a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University.[7] He worked 16 years for Exxon Research & Engineering Company[7] and four years working for Schlumberger prior to becoming a professor at Binghamton University.[6]

From 1994 to 2000, he served as the university's vice provost for research.[4] He also served as vice-chair of the Research Foundation of the State University of New York for six years. He is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering at Binghamton University.[7] Whittingham was named Chief Scientific Officer of NAATBatt International in 2017.[4]

Whittingham co-chaired the DOE study of Chemical Energy Storage in 2007,[8] and is a director of the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage (NECCES), a U.S. Department of Energy Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) at Binghamton. In 2014, NECCES was awarded $12.8 million, from the U.S. Department of Energy to help accelerate scientific breakthroughs needed to build the 21st-century economy. In 2018, NECCES was granted another $3 million by the Department of Energy to continue its research on batteries. The NECCES team is using the funding to improve energy-storage materials and to develop new materials that are "cheaper, environmentally friendly, and able to store more energy than current materials can".[9]


Whittingham conceived the intercalation electrode. Exxon manufactured Whittingham's lithium-ion battery in the 1970s, based on a titanium disulfide cathode and a lithium-aluminum anode.[10] The battery had high energy density and the diffusion of lithium ions into the titanium disulfide cathode was reversible, making the battery rechargeable. In addition, titanium disulfide has a particularly fast rate of lithium ion diffusion into the crystal lattice. Exxon threw its resources behind the commercialization of a Li/LiClO4/ TiS2 battery. However, safety concerns led Exxon to end the project. Whittingham and his team continued to publish their work in academic journals of electrochemistry and solid-state physics. He left Exxon in 1984 and spent four years at Schlumberger as a manager. In 1988, he became Professor at the Chemistry Department, Binghamton University, U.S. to pursue his academic interests.

"All these batteries are called intercalation batteries. It’s like putting jam in a sandwich. In the chemical terms, it means you have a crystal structure, and we can put lithium ions in, take them out, and the structure’s exactly the same afterwards," Whittingham said. "We retain the crystal structure. That’s what makes these lithium batteries so good, allows them to cycle for so long."[10]

Lithium batteries have limited capacity because less than one lithium-ion/electron is reversibly intercalated per transition metal redox center. To achieve higher energy densities, one approach is to go beyond the one-electron redox intercalation reactions. Whittingham's research has advanced to multi-electron intercalation reactions, which can increase the storage capacity by intercalating multiple lithium ions. A few multi-electron intercalation materials have been successfully developed by Whittingham, like LiVOPO4/VOPO4. The multivalent vanadium cation (V3+<->V5+) plays an important role to accomplish the multi-electron reactions. These promising materials shine lights on the battery industry to increase energy density rapidly.

Whittingham received the Young Author Award from The Electrochemical Society in 1971,[11] the Battery Research Award in 2003,[12] and was elected a Fellow in 2004.[13] In 2010, he was listed as one of the Top 40 innovators for contributions to advancing green technology by Greentech Media.[14] In 2012, Whittingham received the IBA Yeager Award for Lifetime Contribution to Lithium Battery Materials Research,[15] and he was elected a Fellow of Materials Research Society in 2013.[16] He was listed along with John B. Goodenough, for pioneering research leading to the development of the lithium-ion battery on a list of Clarivate Citation Laureates for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry by Thomson Reuters in 2015.[10][17] In 2018, Whittingham was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, "for pioneering the application of intercalation chemistry for energy storage materials."[18]

In 2019, Whittingham, along with John B. Goodenough and Akira Yoshino, was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for the development of lithium-ion batteries."[1][2]

Personal life

Stanley is married to Dr. Georgina Whittingham, a professor of Spanish at the State University of New York, Oswego. He has two children, Michael Whittingham and Jenniffer Whittingham-Bras.[19][20]



Most-cited papers

(As of 2019:[26])


  1. ^ a b c "Nobel Prize in Chemistry Announcement". The Nobel Prize. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b Specia, Megan (9 October 2019). "Nobel Prize in Chemistry Honors Work on Lithium-Ion Batteries". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  3. ^ Ramanan, A. (10 November 2019). "Development of lithium-ion batteries – 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry" (PDF). Current Science. 117 (9): 1416–1418. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2021.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ a b c d "Stanley Whittingham, Ph.D." Marquis Who's Who Top Educators. 23 January 2019. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  5. ^ "M. Stanley Whittingham: Facts". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham". Binghamton University. Archived from the original on 22 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Yarosh, Ryan (9 October 2019). "Binghamton University professor wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry". Binghamton University. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  8. ^ Desmond, Kevin (16 May 2016). Innovators in Battery Technology: Profiles of 93 Influential Electrochemists. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 240. ISBN 9780786499335. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  9. ^ Ellis, Katie (19 June 2014). "Federal grant boosts smart energy research". Binghamton University Division of Research. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Binghamton professor recognized for energy research". The Research Foundation for the State University of New York. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Norman Hackerman Young Author Award". The Electrochemical Society. Archived from the original on 22 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Battery Division Research Award". The Electrochemical Society. Archived from the original on 22 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Fellow of The Electrochemical Society". The Electrochemical Society. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  14. ^ Kanellos, Michael (20 April 2010). "The Greentech Hall of Fame". Greentech Media. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Awards". International Battery Materials Association. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  16. ^ "2013 MRS Fellows". Materials Research Society. Archived from the original on 10 October 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  17. ^ a b Mackof, Alexandra. "BU chemistry professor named as Nobel Prize hopeful". Pipe Dream. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  19. ^ "2019 Nobel Prize winner: Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham talks award, impact, batteries". Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Faculty profile, Modern Languages: Georgina Whittingham". State University of New York at Oswego. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Research & Scholarship Award Recipients by Region". SUNY Foundation. 2 May 2007. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  22. ^ "Prof. M. Stanley Whittingham". internationalsocietysolidstateionics.org. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  23. ^ "Stan Whittingham selected for 2018 David Turnbull Lectureship Award". MRS Bulletin. 43 (11): 871. November 2018. doi:10.1557/mrs.2018.273. ISSN 0883-7694.
  24. ^ "Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham". NAE Website. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  25. ^ Nhu, Quynh (21 December 2023). "Battery researchers win $3M Vietnamese awards". VnExpress.
  26. ^ "Stanley Whittingham". Google Scholar. Retrieved 10 October 2019.