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Google Doodle celebrates the 80th birthday of Dr. Mario Molina, the man who helped save the ozone layer


Google doodle celebrates the 80th birthday of Dr. Mario Molina, a Mexican chemist who successfully convinced governments to come together to save the Earth’s ozone layer.

Molina was a co-recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was one of the researchers who uncovered how chemicals deplete the Earth’s ozone shield, which is essential to protecting humans, plants and wildlife from harmful ultraviolet light.

He was one of the first to discover that chlorofluorocarbons (a chemical found in air conditioners, aerosol sprays, and more) break down ozone and allow ultraviolet radiation to reach the Earth’s surface. He and his co-researchers published their findings in the journal Nature, which later won them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, according to Google Doodle.

Here’s everything you need to know about Mario Molina:

Dr. Molina was born on March 19, 1943 in Mexico City.

Since childhood, Molino was so passionate about science that he turned his bathroom into a makeshift laboratory.

Nothing compares to the fun of watching tiny organisms slide across his toy microscope, as Google Doodle states.

Dr. Molina received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a higher degree from the University of Freiburg in Germany.

After completing his education, he moved to the US to do postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, and later at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In the early 1970s, he began researching how synthetic chemicals affect the Earth’s atmosphere.

His pioneering research into the ozone layer became the basis of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that successfully banned the production of nearly 100 ozone-depleting chemicals.

This international alliance is regarded as one of the most impactful environmental treaties ever made – a precedent that shows governments can work together effectively to tackle climate change.

On October 7, 2020, Dr. Molina died of a heart attack in Mexico at the age of 77.

The Mario Molina Center, a leading research institute in Mexico, continues its work to create a more sustainable world.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.