Mario Molina, Nobel chemistry 1995 winner, dies at 77

Mario Molina, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995, died at 77 in his native Mexico City.

He became the first Mexican-born scientist awarded with a Nobel Prize in chemistry. Through Mario Molina Center, the scientist’s death was announced in a statement by his family.

Coincidentally, Molina’s death occurred on the same day during the revelation of the Nobel Chemistry Prize. He shared the Nobel Prize with scientists Frank Sherwood Rowland of the United States and Paul Crutzen of the Netherlands.

About Mario Molina

Mario José Molina-Pasquel Henríquez, also known as Mario Molina, was known for his research into climate change. He had first published a paper with Frank Sherwood Rowland in 1974 that ultimately led to further Nobel winning research.

Furthermore, Molina received the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1995 to discover that the depletion of the ozone layer is a consequence of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which are household chemicals used in various products, aerosol sprays, packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants.

His work paved the way for the Montreal Protocol. It was during the year 1987 that the international treaty was signed with 46 signatories. The design aims to protect the ozone layer depletion by phasing out the production of the responsible substances. Due to ozone layer depletion, an unnatural and unhealthy amount of UV light reaches the Earth’s surface. And the phenomenon causes various diseases and extreme climate change.

While awarding the Nobel to Rowland, Molina, and Crutzen, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in 1995:

The thin ozone layer has proved to be an Achilles heel that may be seriously injured by apparently moderate changes in the composition of the atmosphere.

Molina’s Awards and affiliations

Molina had many awards and honors to his name. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013 by President Barack Obama. Additionally, Molina was one of the 21 scientists who composed President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Molina was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and for eight years. He was currently working as a researcher at the University of California at San Diego. Not only this, his dedication to carrying out studies on air quality and climate change made him the president of the Mario Molina Center in 2005.

A couple of months ago, he spoke alongside Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, in a video conference on the coronavirus pandemic. He came out in favor of face masks to avoid transmission.

Image courtesy of Rena Schild/Shutterstock

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