Mexican Nobel laureate Molina, ozone layer prophet, dies at 77

By Miguel Gutierrez
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican scientist Mario Molina, who won his country's first Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on the threat to the ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), died Wednesday at the age of 77.
Molina, one of Mexico's foremost scientists, performed some of his first experiments at a young age in his parents' home before becoming a global authority on climate change.
Centro Mario Molina, an environmental research organization he founded, said he died of "unexpected heart problems".
Molina was born in Mexico City. She graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and made postgraduate degrees at universities in Germany and California.
In 2008, he was appointed Scientific Advisor to President Barack Obama and advised the authorities in the Mexican capital on their efforts to reduce smog and air pollution, a chronic problem in the metropolis.
When Molina was a little boy his parents bought him a microscope. He remembered turning a bathroom into a makeshift laboratory and at the age of 10 was already devouring the biographies of Nobel Prize winners like Marie Curie.
In 1995 Molina, Frank Sherwood Rowland and Paul Crutzen received the Nobel Prize for their work showing how CFCs in spray cans destroy the ozone layer.
Molina worked at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), a major learning center for phenomena related to climate change.
His commitment to fighting global warming contradicted the current Mexican government, which has pursued an energy agenda to empower state energy companies whose business models are heavily reliant on the use of polluting fossil fuels.
In an interview with Reuters in July, Molina strongly condemned these policies, saying his homeland was "going back to the last century - or the previous century" on climate change, an assessment the government denies.

(Reporting by Miguel Gutierrez and David Alire Garcia; Additional reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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