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Kyushu Energy Week commemorates 2019 Nobel Laureate Akira Yoshino with distinguished professorship and special lecture

Release date: 2020.04.03

 

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On January 31, 2020, Prof. Akira Yoshino was honored with the title of Distinguished University Professor in a ceremony at Kyushu University, after which he presented a special lecture at the Shiiki Concert Hall in commemoration of his Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Professor Yoshino’s presentation was part of Kyushu University Energy Week, an annual celebration of energy with leading experts in the field that welcomed nearly 2,700 attendees from both inside and outside the university.

This title of Distinguished University Professor is reserved for individuals who have made outstanding achievements, such as receiving the Nobel Prize, and significantly contributed to research and educational activities at Kyushu University. Professor Yoshino is the sixth person—and the first Japanese—to receive the title of Distinguished University Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study of Kyushu University, the others being Prof. K. Barry Sharpless, Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn, Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, and Sir Tim Hunt.

“I am very happy and I will further deepen the research and educational relationships with Kyushu University,” said Prof. Yoshino with his bright smile when receiving a certificate commemorating the title from President Chiharu Kubo.

Prof. Akira Yoshino speaks at the ceremony

Prof. Yoshino with university leaders at the ceremony

Following the ceremony, Prof. Yoshino gave a special lecture before an audience of 1,311 attendees at Kyushu University Energy Week 2020. After congratulatory addresses from Kyushu University President Kubo and Prof. Michitaka Ohtaki, Director of the Research Center for Green Technology, Prof. Yoshino spoke on environmental issues and how they relate to his research, explaining the development of the lithium-ion batteries that would eventually win him the Nobel Prize. He went on to talk about his ideas for achieving a sustainable society, explaining that he believes we will see an energy technology revolution by the year 2025—a revolution that seeks to combine environmental sustainability, economy, and convenience.

In the Q&A session that followed the lecture, Prof. Yoshino revealed that his lithium-ion battery research started around age thirty-three when he gained more perspective and enough autonomy to take chances. Professor Yoshino encouraged students to invest in their future selves now, saying, “Your mid-thirties are the best time in your life to do something new, since you have a good deal of perspective but still have time to bounce back even if you fail.”

In 2015, Prof. Yoshino was appointed a visiting professor at the Research and Education Center for Advanced Energy Materials, Devices, and Systems, the predecessor to the current Research Center for Green Technology, located on Kyushu University’s Chikushi Campus. Since then, he has come numerous times to speak and lecture, but this time, in light of his Nobel Prize in Chemistry, he gave an especially memorable lecture for the Chikushi Symposium, an event held annually during Kyushu University Energy Week.

President giving a welcome speech

Michitaka Ohtaki, Director of the Research Center forGreen Technology, giving his speech

Prof. Yoshino speaks at Kyushu University Energy Week 2020

The scene at Shiiki Concert Hall

Surprise birthday celebration for Prof. Yoshino with birthday flowers and cake

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