· High Profile & Nobel Prizes
· Science/Health & Environment
The 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, discoverer the ozone hole.
Mario J. Molina was born on 19 March, 1943. He is a Mexican chemist known mostly for being one of the largest precursors to discovering of the Antarctic ozone hole.
Molina was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in elucidating the threat to the Earth′s ozone layer of chlorofluorocarbon gases (or CFCs). This Nobel Prize was shared with Paul J. Crutzen and F. Sherwood Rowland. Mario Molina became the first and only Mexican to ever receive a Nobel Prize for science. Until recently, he was an Institute Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Molina earned a bachelor′s degree in chemical engineering at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico in 1965, a postgraduate degree from the University of Freiburg, West Germany in 1967 and a doctoral degree in chemistry from UC Berkeley, California in 1972. In 1974, as a postdoctoral researcher at UC Irvine, he and Rowland co-authored a paper in the journal Nature highlighting the threat of CFCs to the ozone layer in the stratosphere.
At the time, CFCs were widely used as chemical propellants and refrigerants. Initial indifference from the academic community prompted the pair to hold a press conference at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Atlantic City in September 1974, in which they called for a complete ban on further releases of CFCs into the atmosphere. Scepticism from scientists and commercial manufacturers persisted, however, and a consensus on the need for action only began to emerge in 1976, with the publication of a review of the science by the National Academy of Sciences. This led to moves towards the worldwide elimination of CFCs from aerosol cans and refrigerators, and it is for this work that Molina later shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Between 1974 and 2004, he held various research and teaching posts at UC Irvine, the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On July 1, 2004 Molina joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSD and the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Molina is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine. He serves on the boards of several environmental organizations, and also sits on a number of scientific committees including the U.S. President′s Committee of Advisors in Science and Technology.