Mario Molina: 1995 Nobel Prize


Nyla Williams

Mario José was born in Mexico City, Mexico and from a young age was fascinated by science. He spent several months in Paris, where he was able to pursue his interest in mathematics. He ended up finishing his pre-college education in Mexico City and Switzerland. Molina majored in chemical engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and earned an advanced degree from the University of Freiburg in West Germany. He spent many months in Paris, where he pursued studies in mathematics. He continued his education in the United States at the University of California, Berkeley for his Ph.D. He was the first Mexican American to receive a Nobel Prize.

Mario was the first Mexican-born person to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Mario Molina and his colleagues Paul Crutzen and F. Sherwood Rowland co wrote an article explaining their research on the threat of chlorofluorocarbon gases to the stratosphere’s ozone layer. Mario and his colleagues’ research was essential in the global withdrawal of CFCs from aerosol spray cans, fridges, and cleaning solutions.  In 2013 he was granted the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom as a thank you for his efforts as a “visionary chemist and environmental scientist” by Barack Obama. 

His advice to young people interested in becoming scientists is to learn as much as they can about science and scientists. He would also advise someone not to lose their curiosity. If something is very interesting, they should keep working on it, and it will become more interesting. Another thing I would advise is to find friends who share your interests.  He once said “The message to young people is that they can be good at science. It’s a fascinating profession. With science, you do good to your community, to society. But science is also very enjoyable because it represents a very, very creative process. You have to work hard to do that, but you have to work hard if you want to achieve in any realm.”