Written by Ju-Ann Anna Timarong

Mexican Chemist

Mario Jose Molina is a Mexican Chemist born on March 19, 1943, in Mexico City, Mexico. He came from a family full of scholars. Growing up, Mario has always been interested in Science. The Noble Prize mentioned in an article that, when he was a little kid, he converted his parent’s bathroom that they do not use into a laboratory; he used a toy microscope and toy chemistry set in his lab (The Noble Prize). 

According to Britannica Encyclopedia, Molina went to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and majored in Chemical Engineering. In 1965 he graduated UNAM with his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. After UNAM, Molina went to West Germany and got an advanced degree (Master’s Degree) from the University of Freiburg in 1967 (Britannica). He returned to Mexico in 1967 and taught at his alma mater for two years as an Associate Professor. Then he went on a continued and got his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkley (UC Berkley), in 1972. After graduating, he worked in UC Berkley for a year before he moved to Irvine, California and joined a Colleague (F. Sherwood Rowland) in University of California, Irvine (UCI), where he did his study in the Ozone depletion and chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). He discovered that, “CFC gases rise into the stratosphere, where ultraviolet radiation breaks them into their component elements of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon” (Britannica). He then found out that “chlorine atom can destroy about 100,000 ozone molecules before becoming inactive” (Britannica). 

Due to the discovery of the decomposition of the ozonosphere in the 1970s, Molina, alongside his colleagues, won a Noble Prize in Chemistry in 1995. Due to Molina and his colleagues work, it leads to an “international movement in the late 20th century to limit the widespread of chlorofluorocarbon gases” (Britannica). 

In 2006 he told interviewer of Noble Prize that he moves back to Mexico City, where he created a center to strategize studies in energy and environment. He inspires many, including myself, with his work related to air quality and global change issues. As a girl who grew up on an island, my goal is to be able to help my fellow islanders to support slower ozone depletion. It may not be a big problem here in the United States, but tiny Island nations are disappearing due to Sea Level Rising, and this is caused by ozone depletion. Through his story of hard work and dedication, Molina has influence many Latinx to follow along his path. Also, Molina has inspired me as a non-Hispanic woman to make a difference to help my country and this world so that our future generation can see its beauty. 


“The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995.” NobelPrize.org, www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/1995/molina/biographical/.

Mario Molina Image, http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sCXStYEqw_s/TcwEsTIdiUI/AAAAAAAAACQ/ClE5uTGHMPw/s1600/11-08MarioMolinaBIG.jpg

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Mario Molina.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 15 Mar. 2020, www.britannica.com/biography/Mario-Molina.