MARIO MOLINA Biography - Famous Scientists


Biography » famous scientists » mario molina


Mario Jose Molina (born March 19, 1943) 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 Mexican to             
receive a Nobel Prize for science. Until recently he was an Institute Professor       
in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT.               
Molina was born in Mexico City, son of Roberto Molina Pasquel, a lawyer and           
diplomat, and Leonor Henriquez de Molina.                                             
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         
where 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.                                                         
Mario Molina married Guadalupe Alvarez in February 2006. Between 1974 and 2004       
he variously held research and teaching posts at UC Irvine, the Universidad           
Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, and 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.       
Mario Molina is regarded together with Andres Manuel del Rio discoverer of           
vanadium and Luis E. Miramontes inventor of the contraceptive pill, one of the       
three most important Mexican chemists.                                               
In 2002 Molina received an Honoris Causa Degree from the Universidad de las           
Américas, Puebla, in Cholula,Puebla, Mexico. He has received more than 18             
honorary degrees.                                                                     
A short biography of Mario Molina is found in "Oxford Dictionary of Scientists"       
by Oxford University Press, 1999.