A Nobel Prize Winner
On November 3rd 2011 Washington college students and faculty hosted Mario J. Molina, the Nobel prize-winning chemist whose work led to the full realization of the dangers of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) being pumped into our atmosphere. Molina’s work in identifying the negative atmospheric influence of CFCs, particularly in their contributions to the Antarctic Ozone hole led the United States to ban the usage of CFCs in aerosol cans. His work also formed the cornerstone of the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international treaty now signed by 196 countries that are legally obligated to phase out ozone depleting substances by agreed-upon dates. Molina also serves on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
In a profile for the journal Nature last fall, writer Jeff Tollefson described Molina as an influential celebrity in his native country. “Cab drivers have heard of him. Political leaders seek his advice. Strangers often shake his hand in a mixture of congratulations and thanks,” Tollefson wrote. “Such is the fame of Mario Molina, the 67-year-old chemist who has become something of a national icon in his hometown of Mexico City.”
In addition to delivering a well-received address entitled “Chemistry and Climate Change” to the College, Molina also officially invested associate professor of chemistry Anne E. Marteel-Parrish as the first holder of the Frank J. Creegan Chair in Green Chemistry.