Scientists and scholars from across the globe will gather at Texas A&M University this week to remember legendary Texas A&M chemist Dr. F. Albert Cotton.

On Wednesday (April 25), the Department of Chemistry and the College of Science will honor Cotton, a distinguished professor of chemistry and one of the most honored faculty members in Texas A&M history, in a public memorial service scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Rudder Theatre.

Cotton, who held the W.T. Doherty-Welch Foundation Chair in Chemistry at Texas A&M and served as director of the Laboratory for Molecular Structure and Bonding, passed away February 20 at the age of 76.

University of Cambridge chemist The Lord Jack Lewis will headline a list of speakers that includes internationally renowned contemporaries, Texas A&M administrators and colleagues, as well as family and friends.

"We are indeed honored to have a remarkable number of eminent people visit our campus to pay tribute to Al Cotton," said Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science.

Cotton's many awards include the National Medal of Science, the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry, the Priestley Medal -- the highest honor given by the American Chemical Society -- the Award in Chemical Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences and the highly prestigious Wolf Prize, viewed by many scholars as having the status of a Nobel Prize. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academies of Sciences of the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Denmark.

A prolific writer, Cotton wrote five text and reference books and authored or co-authored more than 1,600 publications -- by far the most in Texas A&M history. He was awarded 29 honorary doctorates by universities around the world, also believed to be the most in school history. He directly supervised the work of 116 graduate students -- including 67 at Texas A&M -- who went on to earn their doctoral degrees, yet another school record for faculty.

Cotton's memorial service will be held in conjunction with the program for the F.A. Cotton Medal for Excellence in Chemical Research, established in 1995 and awarded annually by the local section of the American Chemical Society and the Department of Chemistry. The related two-day symposium, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday (April 25 and 26) in Room 2104 of the Chemistry Building, will focus on Dr. Cotton's many contributions to the international chemistry community and his legacy as viewed through the chemistry of some of his former students. The program also will include a presentation by 2007 Cotton Medal winner Dr. Jacqueline K. Barton of the California Institute of Technology.

"Those of us who worked with this brilliant scholar as his students and as colleagues are grateful that we had this opportunity and appreciate the positive impact that this relationship had on our careers," said Dr. John P. Fackler Jr., a distinguished professor of chemistry at Texas A&M who studied under Cotton at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Cotton first taught before coming to Texas A&M in 1972.

For more information on the memorial service or Cotton Medal Symposium events, please contact the Department of Chemistry at (979) 845-2011.


Contact: Shana Hutchins, 979-862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • F. Albert Cotton, 1930 - 2007

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