F. Sherwood Rowland


Celebrating Curiosity and the Finest Spirit of Science 

Campaign for an Endowed Chair & Fellowship Fund In Honor of Professor F. Sherwood Rowland

In December of 1973, Professor F. Sherwood “Sherry” Rowland came home one evening from his lab at UC Irvine.  Rowland’s wife Joan asked him how the work was going.  “The work is going very well,” he told her.  “But it may mean the end of the world.” 

More than twenty years later, in the fall of 1995, Professor Rowland received a call from Stockholm with the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize.  The award was for Rowland and his post-doctoral student Mario Molina’s ground-breaking work as the first scientists to warn that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released into the atmosphere were depleting the earth’s vital ozone layer—and that this depletion would become catastrophic.  

While a Nobel Prize would be considered a crowning moment for any scientist, Professor Rowland cites the most satisfying moment of his career as that afternoon in early December 1973, in his lab at UC Irvine when he and Molina looked at one another in a moment of stunned awareness of the consequences of their findings.  Ever one for rigorous skepticism, Rowland insisted they replicate every calculation over a period of three days, searching for an error that would invalidate their results.  There was no error.  

The research of Rowland and his group brought worldwide attention to the impact of human-contributed pollution on a planetary scale. It was simply game changing.  His work was among the first to directly effect a global shift in policy, preceding the current debate on climate change.  He was at the forefront of a movement that reshaped the academy’s approach to scientific research and teaching.  And according to the Nobel award committee, Professor Rowland may have “saved the world from catastrophe.”


Irvine, Calif., March 10, 2012UC Irvine founding professor F. Sherwood Rowland, who patiently endured years of criticism and then won a Nobel Prize for showing that chlorofluorocarbons could destroy the Earth’s ozone layer, died Sat., March 10 at his home in Corona del Mar from complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 84. Mrs. Rowland asks that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to the F. Sherwood Rowland Chair and Graduate Fellowship Fund of the UC Irvine Department of Chemistry. Read professor F. Sherwood Rowland's obituary

Contribute to the F. S. Rowland Chair & Fellowship Fund by going to http://www.uadv.uci.edu/FSherwoodRowlandFund. You can also contribute by sending the UCI School of Physical Sciences Pledge Form.

Condolences to the family can be sent in care of the UCI School of Physical Sciences:

Dean Kenneth C. Janda
180 Rowland Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-4675

For questions please contact Marijana Lekousis, at marijana@uci.edu or (949) 824-8111.