Newsweek

How a 94-Year-Old Genius May Save the Planet

John Goodenough's lithium-ion batteries changed consumer electronics in the 1980s. Can his new, glass-based batteries spur the electric car revolution?
John Goodenough in his office at the University of Texas in Austin in 2013.
03_24_Goodenough_01 Source: University of Texas

A man old enough to be Mark Zuckerberg’s great-grandfather just unveiled energy storage technology that might save the planet.  

John Goodenough is 94, and his current work could be the key to Tesla’s future—much as, decades ago, his efforts were an important part of Sony’s era of dominance in portable gadgets. Over the years, Goodenough has scuffled with Warren Buffett, wound up screwed by global patent wars, never got rich off a headline-grabbing initial public offering and defied the American tech industry’s prejudice that says old people can’t innovate.

RELATED: How Uber can end up as Silicon Valley's biggest crash

Contrast that with the way we celebrate Evan Spiegel, who at 26 is worth $5 billion

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