Nobel Prize Winner Paul Crutzen Dies at 87

January 28, 2021 Updated: January 28, 2021

Paul J. Crutzen, a Dutch scientist who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry for his work understanding the ozone hole, has died.

The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, where Crutzen was the director of atmospheric chemistry from 1980 until his retirement in 2000, confirmed that he died Thursday at the age of 87.

Crutzen was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995 together with American chemist F. Sherwood Rowland and Mexican chemist Mario J. Molina.

Paul J. Crutzen, a Dutch scientist who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry
American Nobel Prize for chemistry laureate, Professor Mario J. Molina (C) of MIT, Cambridge, Mass., gestures during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, sharing the 1995 Nobel chemistry prize with American Professor F. Sherwood Rowland (L) of the University of California at Irvine, Calif., and Dutch Professor Paul J. Crutzen (R) of the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany, on Dec. 7, 1995. (Martina Huber/AP photo)

Born in Amsterdam in 1933, Crutzen first trained as an engineer before moving to Sweden in the late 1950s. According to the Nobel Institute, Crutzen got a job as a programmer at Stockholm University’s Department for Meteorology despite having no programming experience.

While working at the university he began studying meteorology on the side, acquiring a PhD in the field in 1968. Crutzen subsequently taught and conducted research at the University of Oxford, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, the University of Chicago and the University of California.

Crutzen is survived by his wife Terttu, his daughters Ilona and Sylvia, and three grandchildren.