The Nobel Prize winner showed how CFCs could break down the Earth's protection against harmful ultraviolet radiation.

For years, the chemicals used in hair spray and refrigerators wreaked havoc on the ozone layer, the protective shroud that shields us from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. 

But it wasn't until 1974 that people started to take notice. 

The consequences were dire, for without the ozone layer to help protect us from the sun, our planet wouldn't be habitable. His research helped change global environmental policy. 

To honor Molina's pioneering efforts to combat an environmental disaster, Google dedicated its Doodle to Molina on the Nobel Prize-winning scientist's 80th birthday. 

Born on March 19, 1943, in Mexico City, Molina was drawn to science at a young age, converting a bathroom in his home into a makeshift laboratory for his chemistry sets. 

"I was already fascinated by science before entering high school," Molina wrote in a biography on the Nobel site. 

"I still remember my excitement when I first glanced at paramecia and amoebae through a rather primitive toy microscope." 

A year later, while working with F. Sherwood Rowland of the University of California at Irvine, Molina found that CFCs in the upper atmosphere could be broken down by ultraviolet radiation, releasing chlorine atoms, which destroy ozone molecules. 

Their findings were published in the journal Nature in 1974. 

THANKS Their findings were denounced by industries that rely on CFCs, with one company's executive alleging that the pair's theory was "orchestrated by the Ministry of Disinformation of the KGB."FOR WATCHING