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Mario J. Molina

Mario J. MolinaAKA Mario José Molina

Born: 19-Mar-1943
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Hispanic
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Ozone depletion

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.

Father: Roberto Molina Pasquel (lawyer-diplomat)
Mother: Leonor Henriquez de Molina
Wife: Luisa Tan Molina (chemist, m. 1973, div., one son)
Son: Felipe (physician, b. 1977)
Wife: Guadalupe Alvarez (m. Feb-2006)

    University: BS Chemical Engineering, National Autonomous University of Mexico (1965)
    University: MS Chemical Engineering, University of Freiburg (1967)
    Teacher: Chemical Engineering, National Autonomous University of Mexico (1967-68)
    University: PhD Physical Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley (1972)
    Scholar: Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley (1972-73)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of California at Irvine (1973-82)
    Scholar: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (1982-89)
    Professor: Chemistry & Atmospheric Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1989-97)
    Professor: Inst. Prof. of Earth, Atmosphere, and Planetary Sciences, MIT (1997-2004)
    Professor: Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California at San Diego (2004-)
    Professor: Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Scripps Research Institute (2004-)

    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

Author of books:
The Science of Global Change (1992, with Luisa T. Molina)
Air Quality in the Mexico Megacity (2002, with Luisa T. Molina)


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