Paul J. Crutzen

Activist Type

Dr. Paul Jozef Crutzen is a Dutch astronomic scientist most known for assisting in the discovery in the 1970’s that chemical emission of nitrous oxide was causing the acceleration of ozone depletion. His dedication to his environmental work and exploring the effects of climate change helped him receive the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry along with fellow scientists Mario Molina and Frank Sherwood.

Dr. Crutzen originally studied civil engineering until his education was cut short due to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Upon resuming his studies, Dr. Crutzen began conducting research primarily in atmospheric chemistry, specifically Earth’s ozone layer.  In 1974, Crutzen developed a model of the potential ozone depletion resulting from the continued use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), mostly used in aerosol spray cans and as refrigerants or cleaners, which at the time were being emitted by increased use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers and fossil fuel. Dr. Crutzen later began to campaign for a worldwide ban on harmful substances to protect the earth. His work resulted in The Montreal Protocol, the most successful environmental treaty to date to protect the ozone layer. This work on global warming also helped Crutzen to create the term “Anthropocene” which he expanded upon in Geology of Mankind in 2002, defining the epoch relating to or denoting the current geological age where humans have had an impact on global climate and environmental change.

Among his many professional associations, Dr. Crutzen currently works at the Department of Atmospheric Chemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, in Mainz, Germany; the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego; and at Seoul National University, South Korea.

Artwork by
Hye-jin Lee

This illustration of Paul J. Crutzen is based on the Delftware, which is a unique art form in the Netherlands. Also, the color blue itself generally represents peace. Paul J Crutzen devoted his life to protecting the ozone layer. The flowers represent the nature of the earth and the circle frame represents the hole in the ozone layer.


Netherlands (kingdom of The) Flag
July 26, 1581
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