On March 19, Google commemorated the 80th birthday of Dr. Mario Molina, a Mexican chemist who played a significant role in the efforts to preserve the planet’s ozone layer. A co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995, Dr. Molina’s research helped identify how chemicals depleted Earth’s ozone shield, which is vital for safeguarding humans, plants, and wildlife from harmful ultraviolet light. The search engine giant celebrated his achievements with a Google Doodle, highlighting his efforts in convincing governments worldwide to take action.
Dr. Molina was born in Mexico City in 1943 and had an early passion for science, setting up a makeshift laboratory in his bathroom. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and an advanced degree from the University of Freiburg in Germany, he moved to the United States for postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Molina began researching the impact of synthetic chemicals on the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to his groundbreaking discovery that chlorofluorocarbons were breaking down the ozone layer, causing harmful ultraviolet radiation to reach the Earth’s surface. His research, published in the journal Nature, contributed to the foundation of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that successfully banned the production of almost 100 ozone-depleting chemicals, and served as a model for international cooperation to address environmental issues.
Dr. Molina’s contributions to science continue to inspire and shape the work of the Mario Molina Center, a renowned research institute in Mexico focused on creating a more sustainable world. Google thanked Dr. Molina for his years of research, which had a significant impact on the planet, saying, “Thank you, Dr. Molina, for your critical scientific discoveries that truly changed the world.”