Rabat, June 12 -- While talking with Professor Rachid Yazami , a Fez native and world-renowned battery researcher, one does not feel overpowered by the aura of a man whose inventions are used by billions of people each day.

Instead, Yazami is warm and easy to talk to, repeatedly expressing gratitude for the opportunities he's had and the people who've helped him along the way.

Yazami is best known for inventing the graphite anode, which, after more than 13 years since it was first patented, is still the number one electrode used in rechargeable lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are used in cell phones, laptops, cameras, and other technology that much of society uses every day.

A curious child, Yazami shared that he had his own home-...