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COLLEGE STATION --

The F.A. Cotton Medal, named for Texas A&M University's most honored professor, was awarded Friday to a California chemist acclaimed for revealing the chemical reactions that occur on the surfaces of things.

The Texas A&M Department of Chemistry and the Texas A&M section of the American Chemical Society presented the medal to Professor Gabor Somorjai of the University of California at Berkeley.

Somorjai, who studies the surfaces of various materials and the ways they interact, is known for bringing chemistry to an area of research that was the traditional domain of physics. His discoveries have expanded science's understanding of concepts such as adhesion and friction, and they have led to improved methods of making products such as high-octane gasoline.

The Cotton Medal - a gold medal and a bronze replica - is named for Frank Albert Cotton, the distinguished professor of chemistry who has become the most honored faculty member in the history of Texas A&M, based on the number of prestigious national and international awards he has received.

He has won the National Medal of Science, the Priestley Award of the American Chemical Society, the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists and the Wolf Prize, which is viewed by scholars as approaching the level of the Nobel Prize. The jury for the Wolf Prize called him the "pre-eminent inorganic chemist in the world." He also is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Cotton Medal, awarded for excellence in chemistry research, has been given annually since 1995. Somorjai received the 2003 medal during ceremonies at the College Station Hilton Hotel.

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Contact: Mark Minton, communications specialist, Texas A&M University College of Science; (979) 862-1237 or mminton@science.tamu.edu

Minton Mark

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