Without his research, climate change would probably have progressed even further today: Mario Molina warned as early as the 1970s that certain industrial gases such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were destroying the ozone layer. With this knowledge, the chemist laid the foundation for one of the most important international environmental agreements: the Montreal Protocol, which banned the use of ozone-depleting chemicals in 1987.
Molina, who died in 2020, would have been 80 today. On the occasion of his birthday, Google is honoring the researcher with a special Doodle. At first glance, it looks quite restless: Molina can be seen in a thoughtful pose on the right-hand edge, in the background you can see part of the earth with houses standing on it. Two round circles on the earth show a spray can and a refrigerator – exactly these objects contained the harmful CFCs. Arrows pointing up from the circles lead to a darker image plane, the universe. There the Google lettering is emblazoned with a sun as a second O.
“Thanks to the pivotal scientific discoveries of Dr. Molina, the planet’s ozone layer is on track to fully recover in the next few decades!” praises Google the chemist. “Thank you, Dr. Molina, for your years of research that really changed the world.”
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995
Mario Molina was born on March 19, 1943 in Mexico City. He discovered his passion for research at an early age: as a child, he converted a bathroom in his parents’ house into a makeshift laboratory, where he spent hours experimenting with chemistry sets. Eventually, an aunt who was a chemist herself conducted more sophisticated experiments with him. He finally gave up his idea of pursuing a career as a musician, since he was a passionate violinist, and devoted himself entirely to science.
He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He received his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California in 1972. In the early 1970s, he began researching how synthetic chemicals affect the Earth’s atmosphere. He was one of the first to discover that CFCs deplete the ozone layer and allow ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth where it damages ecosystems.
Heart attack was the cause of death
In 1995 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery. Former US President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Mario Molina died at the age of 77. According to Mexican media, the cause of death was a heart attack. Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador paid tribute to Molina in his condolences at the time Twitter as a “distinguished scientist” and “defender of the environment”.
In an autobiography written by Molina in 2007 Nobel Foundation he wrote, “I am proud and humbled that I was able to do something that not only contributed to our understanding of atmospheric chemistry, but also had a profound impact on the global environment.”