UCI was founded in 1965, but what really made people aware of us as a research university was the publication in 1974 of the extraordinary discovery by F. Sherwood Rowland, founding chair of the Department of Chemistry, and Mario J. Molina, his postdoctoral research associate, that chloroflourocarbons were a major contributor to ozone depletion in the stratosphere. The ozone layer makes life on earth possible, and this breakthrough ultimately led to global regulation of chlorofluorocarbon production and the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the two scientists. Professor Rowland’s Nobel citation said he “may have saved the world from catastrophe.” Earlier this month PBS aired a documentary on the vital research and the world’s response to it. It truly illustrates how important research universities are in solving the great problems confronting humankind.
Click here to watch the program, where it features an interview with Joan Rowland, the wife of Nobel laureate and lead researcher of ozone depletion, F. Sherwood Rowland.