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F. Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995 December 6, 2010

Posted by ucisca in Early UCI Campus, Faculty.
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F. Sherwood Rowland (UCI), Mario J. Molina (MIT) and Paul J. Crutzen (Max-Planck-Institute) were awarded jointly the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for their work in atmospheric chemistry, particularly concerning the formation and decomposition of ozone.” In his Nobel lecture on December 8, 1995, Professor Rowland said: “When Mario Molina joined my research group [at UCI] as a postdoctoral research associate later in 1973, he elected the chloroflourocarbon problem among several offered to him, and we began the scientific search for the ultimate fate of such molecules. At the time neither of us had any significant experience treating chemical problems of the atmosphere, and each of us was now operating well away from our previous areas of expertise.”  Mario Molina has said of that period, “Three months after I arrived at Irvine, Sherry and I developed the ‘CFC-ozone depletion theory.’ At first the research did not seem to be particularly interesting….” 

Over twenty years later, in the Press Release from the Nobel Foundation announcing the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Foundation stated: “Thanks to our good scientific understanding of the ozone problem — and very largely to Crutzen, Molina and Rowland — it has been possible to make far-reaching decisions on prohibiting the release of gases that destroy ozone.” 

The photograph below is of Rowland (left) and Molina (right) in Rowland’s lab at UCI in the mid-1970s.  The photograph is from the F. Sherwood Rowland Papers (MS-F029), which is being processed now and will be available for research in 2011.



MS-F029. F. Sherwood Rowland Papers. Special Collections and Archives, the UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.

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