Inorganic chemist dies at 76

F. Albert Cotton, one of the world’s top inorganic chemists, died on Tuesday 20 February at the age of 76.

Cotton spent the majority of his career at Texas A&M University, College Station, having earned his doctorate from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.

Since arriving at Texas A&M in 1972, ’Al Cotton’s contributions to the scholarship in inorganic chemistry have been enormous,’ said Interim Texas A&M University President Ed Davis.

F A Cotton

His body of work on metallic elements has impacted not only inorganic chemistry but also biochemistry, molecular biology, chemical engineering and physics. During his career, Cotton was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the National Medal of Science, the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry, the Priestley Medal - the highest honour given by the American Chemical Society - the Award in Chemical Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences and the highly prestigious Wolf Prize. The jury for the Wolf Prize called him the ’pre-eminent inorganic chemist in the world’. 

Speaking in an interview several years ago, Cotton said: ’The thrill of discovery and the challenge of finding out something that perhaps no one has yet-those things are still very, very exciting to me.’

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Diane ’Dee’, and their two daughters, Jennifer and Jane.

For a more extensive obituary, please follow the link to Texas A&M University below.