Emily Carter, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, is the recipient of a $10,000 award for research on sustainable energy that has made her a leading voice on climate change, the university announced Friday.
Carter, who is UCLA’s executive vice chancellor and provost, is one of three scientists who will share the John Scott Award, which is given each year in memory of Benjamin Franklin.
According to UCLA, Carter’s research “focuses on the development and application of quantum mechanics-based computer simulation tools to enable discovery and design of molecules and materials for sustainable energy, including converting sunlight to electricity; producing chemicals and fuels from renewable energy, carbon dioxide, air and water; and optimizing liquid metal alloys for future fusion reactor walls.”
“I strongly believe that there will not be one solution (to climate change) but a portfolio of them,” she said. “I was very deliberate in asking myself what I could do with my expertise to attack as many solutions as once, knowing that collaboration and the introduction of different perspectives is crucial to having a larger impact.”
Carter noted that more than half the world’s population lives in cities, and that number is steadily increasing.
“I thought if we could figure out how to make our own backyard at UCLA — and the extraordinary megacity of L.A. as a whole — sustainable, resilient, equitable and livable, among all these different cultures and experiences that exist in the beautiful patchwork quilt of immigrant cultures that comprise L.A., then perhaps we could export those best practices for social and technological interventions out to other cities around the world,” she said. “We could transform the planet and ensure a positive future for generations to come.”
The Board of City Trusts administers the award on behalf of John Scott, an 18th century Scottish chemist who bequeathed the annual prize bearing his name as a tribute to his hero, Benjamin Franklin.
Previous winners of the Scott Award, which includes $10,000 and a copper medal for each individual awardee, include past winners of the Nobel Prize.
“The John Scott Award honors ingenuity and a devotion to science in the memory of Dr. Franklin, and we are truly honored by the spectacular work of this year’s awardees, whose research is helping to save our planet while also guiding our understanding about the world itself,” said Ronald Donatucci, president of the Board of City Trusts.
Carter and her fellow honorees, physicists Charles Kane and Eugene Mele, will receive their awards at a Nov. 15 ceremony in Philadephia at the American Philosophical Society that was founded by Franklin.