Carter, Emily A.

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Distinguished Professor
Theoretical Chemistry
Theory & Computation
Materials Science

Contact Information

2147 Murphy Hall
UCLA Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Short Biography

Emily A. Carter is the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (EVCP), and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, at UCLA. She also holds a joint appointment with the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. 
Dr. Carter began her independent academic career at UCLA in 1988, rising through the chemistry and biochemistry faculty ranks before moving to Princeton University in 2004, where she spent the next 15 years jointly appointed in mechanical and aerospace engineering and in applied and computational mathematics.
During her first stint at UCLA, she helped launch two institutes that still exist today: the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics and the California NanoSystems Institute.
While at Princeton, she held the Arthur W. Marks ’19 and the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professorships. After an international search, she was selected to be the Founding Director of Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. From 2010-2016, she oversaw the construction of its award-winning building and state-of-the-art facilities, the development of novel educational and research programs, and the hiring of its faculty and staff.
After a national search, she served from 2016-2019 as Princeton’s Dean of Engineering and Applied Science, where she spearheaded major research, education, outreach, and diversity initiatives, before returning to UCLA as EVCP in September 2019. Dr. Carter maintains a very active research presence, developing and applying quantum mechanical simulation techniques to enable discovery and design of molecules and materials for sustainable energy.
Her research is supported by multiple grants from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. The author of over 400 publications, Carter has delivered over 550 invited and plenary lectures worldwide and has served on advisory boards spanning a wide range of disciplines. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, U.S. National Academy of Inventors, and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Carter earned a B.S. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1982 (graduating Phi Beta Kappa) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech in 1987, followed by a brief postdoc at the University of Colorado, Boulder, before joining the UCLA faculty.

Research Interests

Dr. Carter’s current research includes the development of efficient and accurate quantum mechanics simulation techniques such as her embedded correlated wave function and orbital-free density functional theories. She uses these and other quantum simulation techniques to enable discovery and design of materials for sustainable energy technologies, including converting sunlight to electricity and producing chemicals, fuels, and desalinated water from renewable energy.

Honors & Awards



  • 2019 John Scott Award, Board of City Trusts, Philadelphia, PA
      Graduate Mentoring Award, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, Princeton University
      Distinguished Alumni Award, California Institute of Technology


  • CME Leadership Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation, New York Section of the American Chemical Society
  • ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry, American Chemical Society


  • Outstanding Referee of the Physical Review journals
  • Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics, American Physical Society


  • Fred Kavli Innovations in Chemistry Lecturer, American Chemical Society
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering (


  • Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize in Theoretical Chemistry, Theoretical Chemistry Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison


  • Fellow, National Academy of Inventors (
  • Ira Remsen Award, Maryland Section of the American Chemical Society, Johns Hopkins University
  • Linnett Visiting Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge


  • Sigillo D’Oro (Golden Sigillum) Medal, Italian Chemical Society, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy


  • Docteur Honoris Causa from L’Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL)
  • Honorary Mathematical and Physical Sciences Distinguished Lecturer, National Science Foundation


  • August Wilhelm von Hofmann Lecture Award, German Chemical Society


  • Member, International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science



  • American Chemical Society Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research