Nobel Winner Yoshino Develops Ability to "Sniff Needs" through Failures

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Oct. 10 (Jiji Press)--Lithium-ion batteries were the fourth research theme picked by Akira Yoshino, selected together with two other scientists for the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, after he failed to put his previous three ideas into practical use.

Through the failures, the 71-year-old Japanese chemist developed an ability to read the trend in technology needs. "It's something like smells," said the honorary fellow of major chemical maker Asahi Kasei Corp. <3407>.

When Yoshino started research on lithium-ion batteries, no one could predict with certainty that they would create a huge market. But along with innovations in communications and semiconductor technologies, the development of lithium-ion batteries became a key driving force behind the information technology revolution.

After earning a master's degree at the graduate school of Kyoto University, Yoshino joined Asahi Kasei in 1972.

He spent his first decade at the company on "repeats of trying some ideas, failing on them and moving to the next." Still, Yoshino has never forgotten to learn lessons from the failures. "There were always causes (of my failures), such as a lack of necessary technologies and a mistake in reading future market trends," he said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press