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Updated: March 12, 2012 16:27 IST

Nobel scientist who warned of thinning ozone dies

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F. Sherwood Rowland. File photo
F. Sherwood Rowland. File photo

F. Sherwood Rowland, the Nobel prize-winning chemist who sounded the alarm on the thinning of the Earth’s ozone layer, has died. He was 84.

Rowland died Saturday at his home of complications from Parkinson’s disease, the dean of the University of California, Irvine’s physical sciences department said Sunday.

“We have lost our finest friend and mentor,” Kenneth C. Janda said in a statement. “He saved the world from a major catastrophe - never wavering in his commitment to science, truth and humanity and did so with integrity and grace.”

Rowland was among three scientists awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for chemistry for explaining how the ozone layer is formed and decomposed through chemical processes in the atmosphere.

The prize was awarded more than two decades after Rowland and post-doctoral student Mario Molina calculated that if human use of chlorofluorocarbons, a by-product of aerosol sprays, deodorants and other household products, were to continue at an unchanged rate, the ozone layer would be depleted after several decades. Their work built upon findings by atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen.

Their prediction caught enormous attention and was strongly challenged partly because the non-toxic properties of CFCs were thought to be environmentally safe. Their work gained widespread recognition more than a decade later with the discovery of the ozone hole over the Earth’s polar regions.

“It was to turn out that they had even underestimated the risk,” a Nobel committee said in its award citation for Rowland, Molina and Crutzen.

Mr. Molina said his former mentor never shied from defending his work or advocating a ban on CFCs.

“He showed me that if we believe in the science ... we should speak out when we feel it’s important for society to change,” Mr. Molina told The Associated Press.

“Isn’t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn’t it your responsibility to do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place?” Rowland said at a White House climate change roundtable in 1997.

“If not us, who? If not now, when?” he asked.

Rowland was survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Joan, a son and a daughter.

we have lost a man of impeccable integrity,his astounding findings about the existence and thinning of the ozone layer made the world take notice. more soever in today's modern era where industrialization has become an embedded part of the system,which in turn is causing environmental damage,different steps are being taken across the globe as a protective measure,it is in this context his findings stands cut above the rest.

from:  abhinav thakur
Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 18:53 IST

May your soul rest in peace. Your contribution about the formation of Ozone layer, its role and consequences was remarkable. But the tragedy is, those who meant to take the action are fully engaged in snatching and gathering the resources in a deluded way!

All the educated scientists and teaching professional's engaged in fund-based research project and want to create more and more degrees to acquire the power.

In our library, innumerable informations are available; unfortunately no one have the interest to implement it for the welfare of human society. In this soup of human society, your contribution was really outstanding, I pray the god for the blessing to stay your heart and soul in peace and happy.

from:  annaiah ramesh
Posted on: Mar 14, 2012 at 16:33 IST

May your soul, rest in peace sir. One day people will remember you as
they think that they should have taken more steps to curb CFC's, from
the second you warned about this issue.

from:  Santosh Vadlamani
Posted on: Mar 13, 2012 at 11:33 IST
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