Your daily dose of Austin
Smartphone image
Make your inbox more Austin.
Local news and fun, every day 6am.
Drive a Tesla or use a smartphone? You can thank UT professor John Goodenough for that

(The University of Texas at Austin)

The lithium-ion battery industry, a multi-billion sector that shapes our everyday lives with its use in products like phones and EVs, came to be what it is now due to a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

John B. Goodenough has more than lived up to his name. He turned 100 years old in July, after a distinguished career in which he did foundational work for world-changing industries, and won the Nobel prize in chemistry along the way.

He came to UT in 1986 after a decade at the University of Oxford. While in England, he was a professor and head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory, where he made the lithium-ion battery discovery.

It was also during this time at Oxford that Goodenough met Arumugam Manthiram, who has long seen Goodenough as a role model.

“I heard of the chance to work with him in 1985 and that entirely changed my life,” Manthiram said. “In other words, if I did not have that opportunity to go and work with him in 1985, I wouldn't be what I am now.”

Now, with a group of about 35 students and postdoctoral fellows, Manthiram researches battery safety and lifespan at UT.

Manthiram says this research explores how we might be able to bring down battery costs, increase driving range and prevent toxicity when manufacturing the batteries. It’s an area of work Goodenough is still curious about, and talked to Manthiram about earlier this week.

“When we were talking three times he asked me, ‘Are we getting good results?’” Manthiram said. “Meaning, are we getting good results from our research data?”

Manthiram went on to note how Goodenough still isn’t retired and maintains an enthusiastic outlook.

“Even at 100 years old, he still thinks, ‘are we getting good results?’” Manthiram said.

Born to American parents in Jena, Germany in 1922, Goodenough built up years of expertise before Oxford and UT. During World War II, he was a meteorologist in the US Army. After that, he attended the University of Chicago, where he received a doctorate in physics in 1952.

Still, the detail that he’s most known for is the development of the rechargeable battery given its massive impact on how we function today and its key role in shaping the transportation industry and inviting cleaner energy.

“It has revolutionized our lifestyle,” Manthiram said. “And it is part of our daily life. And that was made possible because of the batteries which are lighter and store more energy so that we can use them for a longer time.”

Given the impact of the rechargeable battery, it was only fitting that UT hosted a birthday symposium to honor Goodenough’s achievements, inviting other world-renowned scientists and guests from the U.S. Department of Energy.

But it’s not only his scientific discoveries that make Goodenough a person drawing so much celebration.

“He is a great scientist, I think everybody knows, but he's also a great human being,” Manthiram said.

Manthiram says he’s generous, thoughtful and unassuming, and it’s all shown in the way he carries himself even in a field he’s a pioneer in.

“When we discuss science or engineering, many times, he will say, ‘I want to learn,’” Manthiram said. “That tells you that he doesn't assume that he knows everything. He has an open mind and he's willing to discuss with the people to understand more.”


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway