October 20, 2012
Stanford Ovshinsky, a self-taught chemist and physicist who invented the battery technology that powers most of the worldâ€™s smartphones and other mobile devices, died Wednesday at his home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He was 89 and had been suffering from cancer, according to Crainâ€™s Detroit Business, which published a lengthy obituary today.
In his 50-year career, Ovshinsky received more than 400 patents in the U.S. and more than 800 foreign patents covering a range of technologies, including nickel-metal hydride batteries, rewritable CDs, DVD optical discs, flat-screen liquid crystal displays, hydrogen fuel cells, thin-film solar cells and others.
With only a high school and trade school education, he parlayed a pair of early inventions into seed money for a company based upon a revolutionary idea of physics: that a random, amorphous collection of atoms would be more powerful and cheaper than structured, crystalline ones to create and store energy and information.