Mario J. Molina


Mario J. Molina

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Mario J. Molina
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995

Born: 19 March 1943, Mexico City, Mexico

Died: 7 October 2020, Mexico City, Mexico

Affiliation at the time of the award: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA

Prize motivation: “for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone”

Prize share: 1/3


Mario Molina was born in Mexico City and wanted to be a chemist from childhood. He attended a boarding school in Switzerland from age 11, since it was considered important for a chemist to understand German. He later studied to become a chemical engineer in Mexico before continuing his work in Europe and in Berkeley, California in the United States. His time at Berkeley was stimulating, and it was there he discovered how freons damage the ozone layer. Molina later worked in San Diego, California in the United States and in Mexico. He was married to Guadalupe Alvarez and has a son, Felipe, with former wife Luisa Molina.


The atmosphere around our earth contains small amounts of ozone; molecules made from three oxygen atoms. Ozone has played a major role in absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which would otherwise negatively impact life on earth. In 1974, Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland demonstrated that CFC gases, freons, have a damaging effect on ozone in the atmosphere. Freons had many uses, including propellants in spray cans and refrigerants in refrigerators. By limiting the use of freons, the depletion of the ozone layer has been slowed.

To cite this section
MLA style: Mario J. Molina – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Thu. 20 Jun 2024. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.