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Celebration to honor chemistry department as nurturer of breakthrough discoveries


EVENT: UC Irvine’s Department of Chemistry presents “Health of the Atmosphere,” a panel discussion featuring F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, recipients of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences and chancellor emeritus of UCI. This discussion is part of the Celebration of Excellence, honoring the chemistry department for receiving a Chemical Breakthroughs Award from the American Chemical Society.

DATE: Thursday, April 12, 2007
TIME: 5 p.m.
LOCATION: Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Humanities Instructional Building, UCI campus

BACKGROUND: The Department of Chemistry received a Chemical Breakthroughs Award in 2006 from the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry. This new ACS award recognized seven universities and two companies for discoveries over the past century that had significant long-term impacts. The award is unique because it honors the department where the breakthrough occurred, recognizing that environment is crucial to nurturing great discoveries.

UCI was honored for the 1974 Nature paper by Rowland and Molina that linked chlorofluorocarbons to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. The finding was controversial at first, but it ultimately led to a world ban on CFCs. Rowland, now the Donald Bren Research Professor of Chemistry and Earth System Science at UCI, advises world leaders on the impact and dangers of ozone depletion and global warming. Molina, a postdoctoral researcher under Rowland when the discovery was made, now is a chemistry professor at the University of California, San Diego.

UCI’s Department of Chemistry was founded in 1965, with Rowland as its original chair. It is now among the top 20 chemistry departments in the nation, leads research in all major areas of modern chemistry, and is one of the largest producers of chemists in the nation.


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