A Texas A&M University chemist is the winner of the 1998 American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal.

F. Albert Cotton, Doherty-Welch Professor of Chemistry at Texas A&M and director of the university's Laboratory for Molecular Structure and Bonding, will receive the medal during the institute's annual awards banquet May 30 in Philadelphia, Pa.

First awarded by the AIC in 1926, the medal recognizes service to the science of chemistry or the profession of chemist or chemical engineer. In addition to receiving the medal, Cotton will be guest editor of the May/June issue of the institute's journal, The Chemist. He also will be named a Life Fellow in the AIC.

Cotton has been one of the most prolific researchers in modern chemistry. He has published more than 1,300 articles in refereed journals and for more than 20 years has been among the most-cited researchers in chemistry.

He is probably best known among chemists for his discoveries of multiple bonds between metal molecules, and he originated the idea of "cluster chemistry" in transition metals. He was one of the first chemists to apply the mathematical concepts of group theory to the study of complex bonds.

Chemical theories first put forth in his research over three decades have grown into the processes that produce high-octane gasoline, platinum-palladium catalytic converters, ethyl glycol coolants, synthetic motor oils and rubber tires, paint brighteners and high-strength structural plastics.

He received the 1994 Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry, which he shared with University of Chicago chemist Dr. Jack Halpern. He also received the 1997 John Scott Award, presented by the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

He was among the 75 top chemists of the past 75 years selected in 1997 by readers of Chemical & Engineering News.

Cotton is the only American chemist to win all six American Chemical Society gold medals. A seventh ACS award, the F.A. Cotton Award and Lectureship for Excellence in Chemical Research, is named in his honor, and he was its first recipient, in 1995.

He received the National Medal of Science in 1982. He also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Academy of Chemistry and American Philosophical Society. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships.

He holds honorary doctorates from almost two dozen universities.

Born in Philadelphia, Cotton received a bachelor's degree from Temple University in 1951. He studied under Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson (who later won the Nobel Prize for chemistry) at Harvard and received his Ph.D. from that institution in 1955.

Cotton joined the MIT faculty and in 1961 became the youngest person to be named full professor. He joined Texas A&M's chemistry faculty in 1972.

His book, "Advanced Inorganic Chemistry," (now in its fifth edition) written with Wilkinson, is the leading textbook of inorganic chemistry. More than 400,000 copies have been sold during the two decades since it was published. A high school textbook, "Chemistry, An Investigative Approach," has sold more than 350,000 copies.

Contact: Gene Charleton at (409) 845-4644 or by e-mail at: e-charleton@tamu.edu.

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