Mario J. Molina (19 March 1943 – 7 October 2020) was a Mexican American chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for his work on the chemistry of the stratospheric ozone layer.
Life and Career
Molina was born on 19 March 1943, in Mexico City, Mexico. He received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1965. He then earned his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1972.
After completing his Ph.D., Molina worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Irvine, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
He then joined the faculty at the University of California, Irvine, where he conducted his pioneering research on the chemistry of the stratospheric ozone layer.
In the early 1970s, Molina and his colleague F. Sherwood Rowland hypothesized that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were widely used as refrigerants, solvents, and propellants in aerosol cans, could destroy the ozone layer. They discovered that CFCs, when released into the atmosphere, could be broken down by sunlight, releasing chlorine atoms that could react with ozone, breaking it down into molecular oxygen.
Molina’s research on the ozone layer was groundbreaking, and he was one of the first scientists to sound the alarm about the environmental dangers of CFCs. His work led to the adoption of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, an international agreement to phase out the production of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances.
Molina continued to work on environmental issues throughout his career, advocating for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
Molina died on 7 October 2020, in Mexico City, Mexico.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995, along with his colleague F. Sherwood Rowland, for their work on the chemistry of the stratospheric ozone layer.Tags: 19 March 1943, 7 October 2020, In 1995, Mario J. Molina, Nobel Prize in Chemistry