In The News

Chemist who warned of global warming passes away

Chemist who warned of global warming passes away

TRIBUTES have been paid to the chemist F. Sherwood Rowland and who was among the first people to warn that man-made chemicals could lead to global warming.

He has passed away aged 84.

It was in 1974 that Dr. Rowland and his post-doctoral student Mario Molina published a paper in which they warned that continued use of CFCs (then found in aerosol sprays and household products such as refrigerators) would eventually lead to the ozone layer being eroded.

At first they were derided for their theory as many scientists believed the non-toxic properties of CFCs made the chemicals safe. But this view was to be challenged a decade late when a hole was discovered in the ozone layer above the Earth’s polar regions. 

This discovery resulted in the work of Rowland-Molina being recognised as important. This resulted in massive efforts to phase-out the use of CFCs. 

In 1995 Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry with atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen, whose work they had built upon in the 1970s.

To see F. Sherwood Rowland talk about greenhouse gases, click here.


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