National exam | Scientific Streams | Catch-up Session 2022


The exam’s Comprehension Text

[1] Professor Rachid Yazami’s passion for science started when he was a child in his native city, Fez, with a fascination for geology. His academic ambitions soon progressed from analyzing rocks to acquiring a doctorate in graphite compounds for lithium batteries in France. In 1980, aged 26, he made a key discovery that led to the development of the lithium-graphite anode, which is used in rechargeable batteries in mobile phones and laptops.

[2] “I still remember the day I opened my battery and saw that graphite had become a gold color. I converted graphite into gold,” he told Rebecca from Inspire Middle East. His professors were very supportive when they realized the importance of his discovery: lithium can be stored into graphite. This was a turning point in battery history.

[3] Despite this scientific achievement, it took more than a decade to commercialize the lithium battery. For some reason, the French government didn’t consider the invention of graphite as a major invention. So, Yazami did not get a copyright, which means that it could be used for free by other companies. Today, around 95% of batteries produced globally use Yazami’s technology. Worldwide, analysts think that the commercial lithium battery market is worth about $80 billion.

[4] In his battery research, Yazami is exploring the capabilities of artificial intelligence for ameliorating the quality of people’s lives. He is working on a technique that will allow an electric car battery to last for up to ten years instead of five years now. Moreover, the battery can be charged in 10 minutes, the same time we spend in the gas station when we fill our car tank.

[5] Yazami has won many awards, including the Draper Prize, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for engineers. Even at the age of 67, he remains dynamic and wholly dedicated to his work. He is currently the Principal Scientist at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and is frequently consulted by the business community there.

Adapted from:

National exam | Scientific Streams | Catch-up Session 2022



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