For years, the chemical compounds utilized in hair spray and fridges wreaked havoc on the ozone layer, the protecting shroud that shields us from the solar’s dangerous ultraviolet radiation. Nevertheless it wasn’t till 1974 that folks began to take discover.
That was the yr that Mexican scientist Mario Molina revealed a analysis paper that confirmed chlorofluorocarbons — extensively utilized in fridge coolants, spray paint, deodorant sprays and different aerosol merchandise — have been depleting the ozone layer. The implications have been dire, for with out the ozone layer to assist shield us from the solar, our planet would not be liveable. His analysis helped change world environmental coverage.
To honor Molina’s pioneering efforts to fight an environmental catastrophe, Google devoted its Doodle to Molina on the Nobel Prize-winning scientist’s eightieth birthday.
Born on March 19, 1943, in Mexico Metropolis, Molina was drawn to science at a younger age, changing a toilet in his dwelling right into a makeshift laboratory for his chemistry units.
“I used to be already fascinated by science earlier than getting into highschool,” Molina wrote in a biography on the Nobel website. “I nonetheless bear in mind my pleasure once I first glanced at paramecia and amoebae by a moderately primitive toy microscope.”
After being despatched to a Swiss boarding faculty on the age of 11, Molina returned to Mexico to review chemical engineering program on the Nationwide Autonomous College of Mexico earlier than incomes a doctorate in bodily chemistry from the College of California, Berkeley, in 1972.
A yr later, whereas working with F. Sherwood Rowland of the College of California at Irvine, Molina discovered that CFCs within the higher environment could possibly be damaged down by ultraviolet radiation, releasing chlorine atoms, which destroy ozone molecules. Their findings have been revealed within the journal Nature in 1974.
Their findings have been denounced by industries that depend on CFCs, with one firm’s government alleging that the pair’s idea was “orchestrated by the Ministry of Disinformation of the KGB.” However in 1985, British researchers found a large gap within the ozone layer over Antarctica.
These discovering led governments all over the world to return collectively within the Eighties and signal a treaty referred to as the Montreal Protocol with a purpose to section out the usage of ozone-damaging substances. Science journal referred to as the accord as “probably the most profitable worldwide effort to battle local weather change and environmental degradation.”
For his or her work, Molina and Rowland shared 1995 Noble Prize for Chemistry with Paul J. Crutzen of the Max Planck Institute in Germany. In saying the award, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences mentioned “the three researchers have contributed to our salvation from a world environmental drawback that might have catastrophic penalties.”
In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded Molina with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the best civilian honor within the US.
Molina died of a coronary heart assault in 2020 on the age of 77.