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COLLEGE STATION --

Researching the origins of colors, Texas A&M University Chemistry Professor Al Cotton recently came across a compound so obscure it had no common name. He seized the chance and gave it one that any Texas Aggie can appreciate.

Thus did "Tamuic acid" enter the chemistry lexicon, coined after Tamu, a common abbreviation for the school.

The distinguished professor's color experiments also produced a name for a second little-used compound. It is now known as "Texic acid."

"Not after TU," Cotton stressed. "Just after the state."

Both molecules already were known to science, but only by very long names far too cumbersome for even laboratory conversation. "No one in their right mind would use them to talk about these things, except for the record," Cotton said. The Wolf Prize-winning chemist applied his user-friendly names in recent articles describing his research in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Tamuic and Texic acid will now be entered into a formal database and enshrined in the chemical vocabulary, a unique form of immortality for Texas A&M.

"Now, if Cotton's color experiments would only turn up a compound that converts burnt orange to maroon, perhaps he could give the world Gigemic acid," says a College of Science colleague.

Contact: Mark Minton, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M College of Science (979) 682-1237 or mminton@science.tamu.edu.


Press Coverage:
"Chemist burns with Aggie pride" - Houston Chronicle (06/29/2003)

Minton Mark

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