Israeli governmental representatives will be here Monday (Feb. 14) to make the U.S. presentation of the 2000 Wolf Prize in Chemistry to Dr. F. Albert Cotton, Texas A&M University professor judged to be the world's pre-eminent inorganic chemist.

The Wolf Prize, now viewed by many scholars as approaching the stature of the Nobel Prize, includes a $100,000 stipend and is one of the largest awards of its type ever presented to a member of the Texas A&M faculty.

Israeli Consul General Tzion Evrony of Houston will head a delegation that will formally acknowledge Dr. Cotton as a winner of the prestigious award.

The presentation, followed by a reception, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday at Texas A&M's Presidential Conference Center. Dignitaries from throughout the state and nation have been invited to the presentation.

Dr. Cotton and seven other winners of the Wolf Prize this year will be honored in Jerusalem on May 21 in ceremonies headed by Israeli President Ezer Weizman.

Texas A&M President Ray Bowen said Cotton "continues to bring great credit to our university through his scientific accomplishments and growing recognition for them, and I join in congratulating him."

The Wolf Prize jury, in citing Cotton for the award, said that "he is the pre-eminent inorganic chemist in the world. Through his research and text books, he has changed the practice of inorganic chemistry and left an indelible mark on chemistry as a whole."

The prize jury also wrote that Cotton's extensive body of work in the chemistry of metallic elements, where he discovered the existence of double, triple and quadruple metal-metal bonds, is a major contribution to the field of chemistry. The jury added that his work has impacted biochemistry, molecular biology, chemical engineering and physics.

"This is one of the most prestigious international awards in science," Cotton said. "It's enormously pleasing to be recognized in a way that has been accorded to many distinguished scientists - some of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize."

Cotton came to Texas A&M in 1972 as a Robert A. Welch Professor. He received his doctorate from Harvard University for work done under the supervision of Nobel Prize winner Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson and began teaching at MIT. In 1961, at the age of 31, he attained the rank of full professor, the youngest person to achieve that rank at MIT up to that time. He holds 23 honorary doctorates from 10 countries.

Honored numerous times for his work, Cotton was elected to the National Academy of Sciences at the age of 37. In 1982, he was awarded the National Medal of Science and in 1994 the Welch Foundation Prize. In 1998, he received the Priestley Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society, and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists.

He has supervised the research of more than 100 doctoral recipients and has served on many editorial boards, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In addition to holding the rank of distinguished professor, Cotton is the W.T. Doherty-Welch Foundation Professor and director of the Laboratory for Molecular Structure and Bonding at Texas A&M.

Cotton is the second professor at Texas A&M to receive a Wolf Prize for work done at the university. In 1994, Perry Adkisson, former chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, along with Carl Huffaker of the University of California at Berkeley, received the award for their work with environmentally beneficial pest management systems for the protection of agricultural crops.

The Wolf Foundation was established by the late German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Ricardo Wolf. Five annual Wolf Prizes have been awarded since 1978 to scientists and artists "for achievements in the interest of mankind and friendly relations among peoples, irrespective of nationality, race, color, religion, sex or political view."

The prizes are given every year in four out of five scientific fields in rotation: agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine and physics.

Contact: Keith Randall, University Relations.

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