Hispanic Heritage Profile: Mario Molina - Crafton Hills College
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Mario Molina
Chemist, Nobel Prize Recipient

Born in Mexico City in 1943, Mario Molina studied in Mexico and Germany before moving to the United States in 1968 to complete his graduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley.  Upon completing his degree, Mario Molina continued post-doctoral research at Berkeley before moving to Irvine to research the effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) on Earth’s atmosphere with professor Sherry Rowland. They discovered that CFCs, if left unregulated, would destroy the ozone. Realizing the urgency of this discovery, he and Rowland published papers and reported their findings to various media. 

Molina spent a time as a professor at UC Irvine but his work as a teacher left little time for him to conduct experiments of his own, prompting him to move in a non-academic direction by working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1982. In 1989, Molina took a teaching position at MIT and in 2005 he moved to San Diego where he and a team of researchers studied the chemical properties of atmospheric particles and their effects on global climate change. 

He continues to work frequently in Mexico City to improve air quality and thus far has been very successful. He received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on the effects of chlorofluorocarbons on Earth’s atmosphere.