Mario J. Molina life and biography

Mario J. Molina picture, image, poster

Mario J. Molina biography

Date of birth : 1943-03-19
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Mexico City, Mexico
Nationality : Mexican
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-09-19
Credited as : chemist, Nobel Prize for Chemistry, chlorofluorocarbons CFCs

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American chemist Mario J. Molina studied the environmental damage caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a class of chemicals widely used in industrial and consumer applications including aerosol spray cans, pressurized containers, and refrigerators. In collaboration with F. Sherwood Rowland, Molina showed that CFCs accumulate in the ozone layer and, when exposed to the ultraviolet radiation that abounds there, CFCs rapidly break down to their base chemicals chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. Freed from their bond to fluorine and carbon, the chlorine atoms then wreak havoc among ozone molecules, effectively destroying up to 100,000 ozone molecules for each chlorine atom. The result of this, Molina and Rowland postulated, is the breakdown of the ozone layer's ability to block the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. As a result of their research, the use of CFCs has been largely eliminated by law, and Molina and Rowland shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1995 with Paul J. Crutzen.

He was a co-recipient (along with Paul J. Crutzen and F. Sherwood Rowland) of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his role in elucidating the threat to the Earth's ozone layer of chlorofluorocarbon gases (or CFCs), becoming the first Mexican-born citizen to ever receive a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Molina is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine and The National College of Mexico. 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, the Institutional Policy Committee, the Committee on Global Security and Sustainability of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Mario Molina Center. He also served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1999-2006. He has also received more than 18 honorary degrees and Asteroid 9680 Molina is named in his honor.


Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 1983 (with F. Sherwood Rowland)
ACS Gustavus J. Esselen Award 1987
AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize 1988
NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Advancement 1989
Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1995 (with Paul J. Crutzen and F. Sherwood Rowland)
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
El Colegio Nacional
Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
Institute of Medicine
MacArthur Foundation Board of Directors
National Academy of Sciences
NASA Advisory committees
National Institutes of Health
National Science Foundation
Pew Charitable Trusts Scholars grant, 1990
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Mexican Ancestry
Naturalized US Citizen
Asteroid Namesake 9680 Molina
Democratic National Committee
Gore 2000
Hillary Rodham Clinton for US Senate Committee
John Kerry for President

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