Mexican-born American chemist who was jointly awarded the 1995 Nobel
Prize for Chemistry, along with chemists F. Sherwood Rowland and Paul
Crutzen, for research in the 1970s concerning the decomposition of the
ozonosphere, which shields the Earth from dangerous solar radiation.
The discoveries of Molina and Rowland--that some industrially manufactured
gases deplete the ozone layer--led to an international movement in the
late 20th century to limit the widespread use of chlorofluorocarbon
Molina was the principal author of the paper describing their theories,
which was published in the scientific journal Nature in 1974. Their
findings sparked a nationwide debate on the environmental effects of
CFC gases and were validated in the mid-1980s when a region of stratospheric
ozone depletion, known as the ozone hole, was discovered over Antarctica.
Molina worked in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute
of Technology in Pasadena from 1982 to 1989, when he became a professor
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
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