Top 10 Greatest Chemists of All Time

in association with the University of Bradford

Chemistry is the science of the world around us, helping us to understand the make-up of everything in the universe. A series of discoveries over the past few centuries have transformed our knowledge of the world. Understanding atoms and the relationships between them have allowed us to manipulate them, creating chemical compounds to revolutionise our way of life. To celebrate the marvels of chemistry, we've put together a list of the Top 10 Greatest Chemists of All Time (including a guest appearance from a fictional 'genius'...).


10. Mario Molina

In the 1970s, when Mario Molina began his research, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) were widely used as refrigerants and chemical propellants. They were believed to be harmless, however they kept accumulating in the atmosphere. Naturally, Molina and his colleagues wanted to discover what happened to them. They discovered that upon reaching the upper atmosphere, CFCs are destroyed by the sun's radiation. In turn, this process releases chlorine which eats away at the Earth's ozone layer. The largest hole in the ozone layer is over Antarctica (pictured above), and this allows harmful UV rays to penetrate our atmosphere and reach the Earth's surface. Had Molina not discovered this phenomenon, humans may never have made efforts to reduce CFC emissions, and the damage to the ozone layer may have been worse than it is now.