Winter 2020 Distinguished Lecture by EVC and Provost Emily Carter

Posted on


UCLA’s Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Professor Emily Carter gave the Winter 2020 Distinguished Lecture on January 22.  

Department Chair Professor Neil Garg made the welcoming remarks, followed by introductory remarks by Carter’s former “across-the-hall neighbor” at UCLA, Professor William Gelbart. In his remarks, Gelbart recounted how Carter’s academic career began at UCLA in 1988 when she was hired as an assistant professor. “Emily was already a star in the theoretical chemistry world when she joined the department,” Gelbart said. “We were fortunate to have her as a colleague for over 15 years as she rose quickly through the ranks to become one of our very best teachers and one of our very best researchers.” Prior to joining the faculty at Princeton University in 2004, Carter served on the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty from 1988 to 2004 and the Materials Science and Engineering faculty from 2002 to 2004. She also helped establish UCLA’s Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).

Carter DLS 6

EVC and Provost Professor Emily Carter’s lecture was held at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).

After talking briefly about Carter’s qualities as a highly-recognized teacher and researcher, and her transition to leading administrative roles at Princeton as Founding Director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and as Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Gelbart added “More important than her being an exceptionally efficient and effective administrator, Emily is someone who has always insisted on, and now no less than ever, on the highest standards of excellence for herself and for everybody around her, and that means all of us at UCLA. She also brings a vision for and commitment to renewable energy, protection of the environment, and university community collaboration to improve more generally our quality of life. I’m confident that she is going to be an absolutely great Executive Vice Chancellor!”

Carter DLS 1

In her lecture entitled “Artificial Photosynthesis Mechanisms and Materials Optimization from First Principles”, Carter presented state-of-the-art developments in electronic structure theory and their applications for addressing important technological solutions to challenges to the environment. Especially exciting was her discussion of new approaches for converting carbon dioxide to synthetic fuels and for contributing to green chemistries and green economies.

Carter’s lecture was followed by a reception in the CNSI lobby.

To learn more about Carter’s research, visit her website

Carter DLS 5 0

At the reception following Carter’s Lecture – Department Chair Professor Neil Garg, Dean of Physical Sciences Miguel García-Garibay, EVC Emily Carter, Professor William Gelbart, and Professor Ken Houk.

Carter DLS 3

Chemistry & Biochemistry faculty with Carter (from left) Professors Heather Maynard, Sarah Tolbert, Richard Kaner, Emil Reisler, Neil Garg, Emily Carter, Dean Miguel García-Garibay, William Gelbart, Ken Houk, Anne Andrews, and Paul Weiss.

About The Distinguished Lecture Series

The UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry Distinguished Lecture Series is a department-wide colloquium in a special week once per quarter when there are no other seminars in our department. Since beginning the series in 2013, we have invited some of the world’s most accomplished and engaging scientists to speak – Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold (Caltech), David Baker (University of Washington), Zhenan Bao (Stanford), Jacqueline Barton (Caltech), Nobel Laureate Thomas Cech (University of Colorado, Boulder), Francois Diederich (ETH Zurich), Jennifer Doudna (UC Berkeley), Harry Gray (Caltech), Sharon Hammes-Schiffer (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Barry Honig (Columbia), Nobel Laureate Roger Kornberg (Stanford), Yi Lu (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Victoria Orphan (Caltech), Kimberly Prather (UCSD, Scripps), Douglas Rees (Caltech), JoAnne Stubbe (MIT), George Whitesides (Harvard). Their lectures have consistently encouraged thought-provoking conversations and ideas.

On Friday, April 17, 2020, Nobel Laureate Professor Ben Feringa, University of Groningen, will give the Spring 2020 Distinguished Lecture. His lecture will take place at 4:00 p.m. at the UCLA California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) auditorium, followed by a reception in the CNSI lobby at 5:15 p.m.

The lectures are open to the public. While the research covered in the lectures is meant to appeal to a broad range of chemists and biochemists, the lectures also include a general introduction to the research for those who are further separated in research expertise. For more information, visit the Distinguished Lecture series website.

Article and photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.