Institute Professor Mario J. Molina, who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his role in elucidating the threat to the Earth's ozone layer of chlorofluorocarbon gases, will join the faculty at the University of California at San Diego.
Molina will be a professor in UCSD's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and in the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography when he arrives on July 1. He will join a group of leading atmospheric chemists at UCSD that includes Paul Crutzen, who shared the Nobel Prize with Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland of UC-Irvine (formerly of the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.
Molina, a native of Mexico whose early research with Rowland convinced governments around the world to eliminate CFCs from spray cans and refrigerators, has focused much of his recent research on the chemistry of air pollution in the lower atmosphere. He has been working with collaborators from other countries, most notably colleagues in Mexico City, on assessing and mitigating the air pollution problems of rapidly growing cities around the world. He also donated $200,000 of his Nobel Prize money to MIT to endow fellowships for scientists from developing countries doing environmental research.
"The MIT community salutes Mario and Luisa Molina and wishes them well in their continued personal and professional lives," said President Charles M. Vest. "We will miss them very much, but are grateful for their years of service here."
Luisa Molina is a principal research scientist and executive director of the Integrated Program on Megacity Air Pollution in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). She will join her husband at UCSD in the chemistry department.
"Mario Molina is unique in his ability to span from fundamental science to local and global policy for stewarding our environment. He towers in his humanity as well as his science," Vest said.
Molina held teaching and research positions at UC-Irvine, the Universidad Nacional AutÃ³noma de MÃ©xico (his alma mater) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology before arriving at MIT in 1989 as a professor in EAPS and the Department of Chemistry. He was named Institute Professor in 1997.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 11, 2004.