2020 Van Vlack Lecturer: M. Stanley Whittingham, recipient of 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

The official celebration of the lectureship has been rescheduled for October 8, 2021.
2020 Van Vlack Lecturer: M. Stanley Whittingham, recipient of 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

MSE is thrilled to announce that our 2020 Lawrence H. Van Vlack Lecturer is M. Stanley Whittingham, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of lithium-ion batteries. Due to the pandemic, the official Van Vlack Lectureship festivities originally planned for this fall have been rescheduled for October 8, 2021.

“We are excited to have Professor Whittingham as the Van Vlack Lecturer this year,” says Professor Katsuyo Thornton, L.H. and F.E. Van Vlack Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. “It goes without saying that his research accomplishments are extraordinary, but, just like Professor Van Vlack, Professor Whittingham has also had a major impact on the lives of countless students and early career scientists through his mentoring, education, and writing.”

M. Stanley Whittingham is a SUNY distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at Binghamton and the 2019 Chemistry Nobel Laureate. He received his BA and D Phil degrees in chemistry from Oxford University, where he is an honorary Fellow of New College. He has been active in Li-batteries since 1971 when he won the Young Author Award of the Electrochemical Society for his work on beta-alumina. In 1972, he joined Exxon and discovered the role of intercalation in battery reactions, which resulted in the first commercial lithium rechargeable batteries that were built by Exxon Enterprises. In 1988 he returned to academia at SUNY Binghamton to initiate a program in materials chemistry. In 2018 he was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering and received the Turnbull Award from MRS. He is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society. 

"It is indeed an honor give the Van Vlack Lecture, a man dedicated to education and mentoring as well as research," Whittingham commented. "I feel it is very important to encourage the younger generation to get excited about science just like I was by my mentors at Stamford, Oxford and Stanford. I believe it is now our duty to help the world become more environmentally friendly for our children and grandchildren."

“Professor Whittingham is the world’s preeminent expert in the field of chemical energy storage, and we look forward to hosting him on campus next fall, when it is safe to do so,” commented Amit Misra, MSE Department Chair and Edward DeMille Campbell Collegiate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

The Lawrence H. Van Vlack Lecture Series was established in 2001 to provide a distinguished lecture series from outstanding leaders in the field of materials science and engineering. Recent recipients include Professor Frances Ross of MIT (2019) and Dr. Subra Suresh, President and Distinguished University Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and former director of NSF (2018).