Holders of the rank of distinguished professors at Texas A&M University will host a symposium to celebrate the professional achievements of Frank Albert Cotton, distinguished professor of chemistry, at 5 p.m. Monday (Sept. 13) in the Presidential Conference Center.

In addition to holding the rank of distinguished professor, Cotton is a W.T. Doherty-Welch Foundation Professor and director of the Laboratory for Molecular Structure and Bonding at Texas A&M. Cotton is widely known for both his research and as the author of some of the world's most important contemporary chemistry textbooks.

The keynote speaker for the symposium will be Tobin J. Marks, the Morrison Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University.

Cotton's research has dealt with nearly every important field of inorganic chemistry, especially the chemistry of the metallic elements. His greatest contributions are in the field of metal-metal bonding, where, beginning in 1963, he discovered the existence of double, triple and quadruple metal-metal bonds. This body of work has entirely transformed the understanding of the chemistry of about half of the elements in the periodic table.

"Advanced Inorganic Chemistry," which he co-authored, is now in its sixth edition. More than 500,000 copies of the book have been printed in foreign language translations as well as in English. Cotton's textbook "Chemical Applications of Group Theory," is world famous as the book from which virtually all chemists have learned the mathematics for dealing with the symmetry of molecules.

Cotton has supervised the research of more than 100 Ph.D. recipients, and more than 140 postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists have worked in his laboratory.

He has received many forms of recognition for his work. He was elected to the. National Academy of Sciences at the age of 37. He was the first recipient of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Inorganic Chemistry and has also received the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry. In 1998, he received the Priestley Medal, the highest award of the ACS, and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists.

Cotton has served on many editorial boards, including those of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Inorganic Chemistry and Organometallics.

He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University for work done under the supervision of Nobel Prize winner Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson and immediately took up an instructorship 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.

Cotton came to Texas A&M in 1972 as a Robert A. Welch Professor. He holds 23 honorary doctorates from 10 countries.

The symposium is sponsored by the Office of the President at Texas A&M, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the College of Science and the Department of Chemistry.

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