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Lifetime achievements of ‘ozone layer saviour’ Mario Molina celebrated

MARIO Molina, a scientist highly regarded for his work on environmental problems and solutions, died on 7 October at the age of 77.

Dr Molina was known by many for his work on a research paper, produced in 1974 in collaboration with US scientist Frank Sherwood Rowland, which revealed how decomposing CFCs would destroy the ozone layer. 

This work, which was initially disputed by many manufacturers, ultimately led to the introduction of the ozone-protecting Montreal Protocol in 1987.


The pioneering work would result in a Molina, Rowland and Paul Crutzen – an atmospheric chemist who contributed to the work on how industrial gases were thinning the ozone layer – being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995. 

Molina had a long and storied career, which included positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was the recipient of myriad awards and more than 30 honorary degrees.

He was also responsible for establishing the non-profit Mario Molina Centre for Strategic Studies on Energy and the Environment in 2004, which tackles ongoing environmental challenges. 

Carlos Mena Brito, executive director of the centre, speaking on Molina’s death, said: “His humanity, his love for science, his genuine interest in society´s wellbeing, and his astounding optimism were all fundamental ingredients to his success.” 

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