Department of Chemistry

F. A. Cotton Medal for Excellence Chemical Research


The medal was established in 1994 by the Texas A&M Section of the American Chemical Society and the Chemistry Department of Texas A&M University. First awarded on March 31, 1995 to Frank Albert Cotton, the medal is supported by an initial endowment of over $100,000. The funds were raised, in conjunction with Contemporary Inorganic Chemistry: A Symposium in Honor of F. A. Cotton, by Carlos A. Murillo, a long-time friend and co-worker.

The recipient receives, in addition to the medal, a bronze replica thereof and a certificate describing the award.


The medal, designed by Carlos A. Murillo, is minted in gold and is 2.5 inches in diameter. The obverse has a bas relief of F. A. Cotton, gives the name of the medal and the words "Texas A&M – ACS Section." The reverse of the medal bears the words “For Excellence in Chemical Research” and a representation of the Re2Cl82- ion, the first recognized example of a quadruple bond, and so described by Cotton in 1964.


Awarded annually for Excellence in Chemical Research, the medal recognizes accomplishments in research rather than distinction of any other sort, no matter how meritorious. The award is not restricted by gender, country, or branch of chemistry.


  • The award shall be made by the absolute majority vote of a jury of seven, to a chemist who, because of eminent work and original contributions in chemical research, is deemed worthy of special recognition by the jury.
  • A condition of the award shall be that the recipient of the Medal shall deliver an address upon a chemical subject selected by the recipient. The recipient of the Medal shall be notified at least three months prior to the date of the meeting at which the award is to be presented.
  • The jury of the award, to be known as the Jury of the F. A. Cotton Medal shall consist of seven members. The chairman shall be, ex officio, the person who is chairman of the Texas A&M Local Section during the calendar year preceding the year in which the award is to be made. Two members shall be ACS members not resident within the Local Section. The remaining four members must all belong to the Local Section and at least three must be members of the teaching and/or research staff of the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University.
  • Prior to April 6 the Board of Directors shall elect, as necessary to maintain a full jury, new members of the Jury to serve for a term of three years. In the first election only, three of the members will be appointed for three year terms, and three for two year terms. Any juror who has served two consecutive terms of three years shall not be eligible for election to the next succeeding term.
  • At the call of the chairman, the jury shall begin its deliberation during the first quarter of each year. It will be the duty of each member of the Jury (other than the chairman) to make a nomination. Thus, there will be from one to six nominees. No juror may be a candidate. The chairman will conduct a first mail ballot in which each juror, including the chairman, shall cast one vote. Should one candidate receive four or more votes, that candidate will be the medalist. Should no candidate receive four votes there will be a runoff among those having the highest number of votes. Any candidate with three votes will be a finalist. Should there be a tie for either first or second place, the chairman shall choose the finalist(s) from among those tied. If, at any time during the selection process, a juror is unable to serve, the chairman of the jury shall appoint a replacement to serve until the selection process is completed. The replacement shall have the same resident or non-resident status as the juror replaced. The Head of the TAMU Department of Chemistry shall count the votes or shall designate someone not on the jury to do so if the Head is a juror.
  • The travel expenses and other expenses necessary to receiving the Award in person and presenting a lecture will be borne by the TAMU Department of Chemistry as part of its colloquium and seminar program. Other expenses will be covered by the income from the Award endowment.
  • The Board of Directors of the Section, in consultation with the Head, TAMU Department of Chemistry, shall have the power to decide any question not specifically covered by these rules.
  • The Section shall have the authority to change or amend these rules in the same manner as the Bylaws of the Section, provided the Head of the TAMU Department of Chemistry concurs.

Previous Recipients

  1. F. Albert Cotton, Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University
  2. George A. Olah, Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California
  3. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Ecole de Physique et Chemie (Paris), Collège de France
  4. JoAnne Stubbe, Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  5. Alexander Pines, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
  6. Tobin J. Marks, Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University
  7. Samuel J. Danishefsky, Department of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry Columbia University
  8. Ada Yonath, Weizman Institute of Science
  9. Gabor A. Somorjai, University of California, Berkeley
  10. Albert Eschenmoser, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, and Scripps Research Institute
  11. Richard H. Holm, Harvard University
  12. Robin M. Hochstrasser, University of Pennsylvania
  13. Jacqueline K. Barton, California Institute of Technology
  14. Chi-Huey Wong, National Taiwan University, and Scripps Research Institute
  15. Richard N. Zare, Stanford University
  16. Peter J. Stang, University of Utah
  17. George M. Whitesides, Harvard University
  18. R. Graham Cooks, Purdue University
  19. Brian M Hoffman, Northwestern University
  20. K. Barry Sharpless, The Scripps Research Institute
  21. Douglas C. Rees, California Institute of Technology
  22. Stephen J. Lippard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  23. Jennifer Doudna, University of California, Berkeley
  24. Harry B. Gray, California Institute of Technology
  25. A. Paul Alivisatos, University of California, Berkeley
  26. Carolyn Bertozzi, Stanford University
  27. Not Awarded
  28. Cynthia M. Friend, Kavli Foundation and Harvard University