My Life in the Golden Age of Chemistry: More Fun Than Fun

My Life in the Golden Age of Chemistry: More Fun Than Fun

F. Albert Cotton

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 0128012161

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A giant in the field and at times a polarizing figure, F. Albert Cotton’s contributions to inorganic chemistry and the area of transitions metals are substantial and undeniable. In his own words, My Life in the Golden Age of Chemistry: More Fun than Fun describes the late chemist’s early life and college years in Philadelphia, his graduate training and research contributions at Harvard with Geoffrey Wilkinson, and his academic career from becoming the youngest ever full professor at MIT (aged 31) to his extensive time at Texas A&M. Professor Cotton’s autobiography offers his unique perspective on the advances he and his contemporaries achieved through one of the most prolific times in modern inorganic chemistry, in research on the then-emerging field of organometallic chemistry, metallocenes, multiple bonding between transition metal atoms, NMR and ESR spectroscopy, hapticity, and more. Working during a time of generous government funding of science and strong sponsorship for good research, Professor Cotton’s experience and observations provide insight into this prolific and exciting period of chemistry.

  • Offers personal and often wry perspective from this prominent chemist and recipient of some of science’s highest honors: the U.S. National Medal of Science (1982), the Priestley Medal (the American Chemical Society's highest recognition, 1998), membership in the U. S. National Academy of Sciences and corresponding international bodies, and 29 honorary doctorates
  • Details the background behind the development and emergence of groundbreaking research in organometallic chemistry and transition metals
  • Provides beautifully-written and engaging insight into a "Golden Age of Chemistry" and the work of historically renowned chemists

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The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption

A Rift in Time: Travels with My Ottoman Uncle

The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son
















and write such a book. The leader of this writing team was George Pimentel and by the academic year 1960–61 the book was actually in print. It was revolutionary in its inductive strategy, emphasizing experimental facts while at the same time showing how principles and theories are deduced from facts. It was highly successful and deservedly so. After about five years the NSF decided that having underwritten the pioneering effort and seen it to a successful conclusion, the time had come to spin it

the Muffin-Tin-Xα treatment that he had developed for calculating the band structures of metals. Recently, he and a young coworker, Keith Johnson, had adapted it for molecular problems and a program had been written to implement it. This was exciting news, but since I was virtually in a transition state between MIT and TAMU, I was not prepared to take direct advantage of it. However, I had a graduate student, Joe Norman, who would finish his experimental work by the end of 1971. Joe had an

with a computed spectrum, at rates of R1, R2 … Rn (as shown in Fig. 5-6) we could obtain, from the dependence of rate on temperature, the activation energy of the process. The computation of a spectrum at a given rate was done by using a program (EXCH) that George Whitesides had written, based on theoretical treatments in the literature. It was normally necessary (or at least very helpful) to have the spectrum in the slow exchange limit as a starting point. One of the experimental problems in

have, within experimental error, exactly the same relationship to the metal atom; this is shown in Fig. 5-7. This was certainly the first time and (as far as I know, to this day) the last that a crystal structure did not appear to jibe with the implications of the low-temperature limiting NMR spectrum. This was very disconcerting. Figure 5-7 The structure of the (C5H5)3MoNO molecule. We considered the possibility that perhaps, as a strange coincidental result of packing forces, the second

already knew more chemistry than she was going to cover, and so she lent me a college textbook she had used. I devoured it. It was in this book that I first learned about the beauty of the gas laws. I can still remember how impressed I was by the logic that if two volumes of gas A react with one volume of gas B to give two volumes of gas C, it is certain that if both A and B are diatomic, C must be triatomic. The real case which illustrated this was the reaction 2NO + O2 → 2NO2. While I was

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