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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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February 23, 2007

F. A. Cotton, 1930-2007

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Posted by Derek

F. A. Cotton died this week, and another gigantic name in chemistry departs. As an inorganic chemist, he was technically outside my field, but no one's really outside the range of influence of someone like that. If you're an organic chemist, you use organometallic reagents and catalysts, and if you use those, you owe F. A. Cotton some appreciation. 50 years of research, 1600 papers, some extremely influential books - he really cleared some brush, and we're unlikely to see his kind again.

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Current Events


1. gunner on February 24, 2007 9:37 AM writes...

Definitely an inspiration early in my career -- and as you mentioned it would have been impossible to have been an organic chemist and not have come across his work (organometallic, group theory, inorganic bond structure, etc.)

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2. Processator on February 25, 2007 7:57 PM writes...

Rest in peace. Indeed one of the great chemist in history.

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3. Mice Also on February 26, 2007 9:24 PM writes...

You folks are smoking some serious weed! 90% of the work that came out of his lab (a large one at that) were other scientists ideas and labor. Maybe Dereke should do a story on the sickening degree of misdirected attribution that occurs in science. It makes me wonder if most scientist were reincarnated from lap-dogs. As if he did it all himself! Jesus, wake up already, and stop creating these ridiculous hero figures. He wrote a good book, I'll give him that.

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4. Derek Lowe on February 26, 2007 10:46 PM writes...

Well, MA, I'd have to reply that Cotton was able to attract a large lab of talented people for a reason - wouldn't you think? And I'd also add that not every large group of talented people ends up producing useful research - far from it. I think you're selling the man short.

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5. Synchem on March 14, 2007 10:35 AM writes...

I remember running into him while wandering in the hallway when i first started grad school at A&M. He was really friendly and said "Hi" to me. I think that says a lot about the man. A famous professor wouldn't ussually pay attention to a nobody student.

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6. Dr Know on April 3, 2007 9:49 AM writes...

Cotton was murdered?
See for more.

"Officials are investigating the death of Texas A&M chemistry professor Frank Albert Cotton on February 21, 2007.

Officer Fred Kindell of the Brazos County Sheriff's Department told New Energy Times on March 16 that the department has an open investigation into Cotton's death. Kindell refused to answer further questions."

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7. Steve Krivit on April 5, 2007 9:14 PM writes...

Cotton murdered? That's what it looks like. It took me 2 hours on the phone with 3 different PDs to get that info. The first two local PDs knew "nothing." Even still, the county Sheriff's office adminstrator sounded like she didn't know anything about it until I revealed some details to her. She told me, "maybe there's an investigation but they are keeping it hush-hush, hold on." As soon as I did that she put me on hold...for about 8 minutes, and then Kindell came on the line. She had already briefed him.


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