Known worldwide for both his research and as the author of some of the most important contemporary chemistry textbooks, Dr. F. Albert Cotten has been the director of the Laboratory for Molecular Structure and Bonding at Texas A&M since 1983, and has taught at the College Station, Texas, school since 1972.
Cotton was born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1930. He attended Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University) from 1947 to 1949, and received his bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1951. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955, and that year took a position as chemistry instructor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1961, at age 31, he attained the rank of full professor, becoming the youngest person to achieve that rank at MIT up to that time.
Called one of the most important chemists of this century because of his fundamental and pioneering discoveries in inorganic and organometallic chemistry, Cotton has been recognized for his work worldwide, with numerous memberships to science academies across the globe. He received the Baekland, Kirkwood, Gibbs, Nichols, Richards, Cotton and Pauling gold medals from the American Chemical Society – the only American chemist to receive all seven gold medals. In 1998, he received the Priestly Medal, the highest award of the American Chemical Society, and the gold medal of the American Institute of Chemists. He holds 23 honorary degrees from institutions in 10 countries.