Texas A&M University chemist F. Albert Cotton will receive the 1997 John Scott Award Nov. 21 during a ceremony at the offices of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

The Scott award - a copper medal and cash prize - has been made annually since 1834 to the "most deserving" men and women who make outstanding contributions to the "comfort, welfare and happiness" of mankind.

The award is named for a Scottish druggist who set up a fund in the early 1800s to reward "ingenious men or women who make useful inventions" and specified it be administered by the organization that oversees Benjamin Franklin's estate. The first awards went to inventors of a knitting machine and a door lock. Previous recipients include physicist Marie Curie, inventor Thomas Edison, chemist Irving Langmuir and physicist John Bardeen.

"Useful inventions" growing out of theories developed in Cotton's laboratory over more than 30 years include processes that produce high-octane gasoline, platinum-palladium catalytic converters, ethyl alcohol coolants, synthetic motor oils and rubber tires, paint brighteners and high-strength structural plastics.

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

Cotton, director of Texas A&M's Laboratory for Molecular Structure and Bonding and Doherty-Welch Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, 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.

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," written with Wilkinson, is the leading textbook of inorganic chemistry.

He also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society, the French Academy and the American Philosophical Society. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships and holds honorary doctorates from 22 universities.

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

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