Emma P. Carr

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Emma P. Carr
Emma Perry Carr (1880-1972).jpg
Born (1880-07-23)July 23, 1880
Holmesville, Ohio, USA
Died January 7, 1972(1972-01-07) (aged 91)
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Fields ultraviolet spectroscopy
Institutions Mount Holyoke College
Alma mater Ohio State University
Mount Holyoke College
University of Chicago
Doctoral advisor Julius Stieglitz
Notable awards Francis P. Garvan Medal (1937)

Emma Perry Carr (July 23, 1880 – January 7, 1972) was an American spectroscopist and chemical educator.

Early life and education[edit]

She was born in Holmesville, Ohio, the third child of Edmund and Anna Carr.[1] Both her father and grandfather were country doctors who advocated education.[2] She went to high school in Coshocton, Ohio.

She attended Ohio State University from 1898 until 1899. She attended Mount Holyoke College from 1900 until 1902.[3] She worked at Mount Holyoke College as an assistant in the chemistry department[1] until she went to the University of Chicago for her senior year in physical chemistry. She received her B.S. from the University of Chicago in 1905.[3] She taught for two years at Mount Holyoke College before returning to the Chicago to study for her Ph.D., which she received from the University of Chicago in 1910.[1][3]

Career[edit]

She began teaching chemistry at Mount Holyoke College in 1910. She became Chairman of the Chemistry department in 1913.[1][3][4]

Carr felt that the influence of a good classroom teacher was not enough. Students, she believed, should be engaged in real, hands-on research in order to understand and appreciate how chemistry works. To this end she initiated a research program at Mount Holyoke College. She pursued investigations in ultraviolet spectroscopy, a method for studying materials by looking at how they respond to ultraviolet radiation, and spent a year (1919) in a lab at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland, to learn more about the technique. More international collaboration followed, and a few years later she traveled to Switzerland for a research year at the University of Zürich. Her work led to a better understanding of the nature of double bonds between carbon atoms in molecules.[2]

She was able to establish a research program studying the ultraviolet spectra of hydrocarbons, and established a link between the frequencies of the absorptions and the enthalpy change of combustion of the compound.[1][5] She also participated in the International Critical Tables of the International Research Council, where she worked with Professor Victor Henri of the University of Zurich.[3][6]

Carr was a worldwide leader in the use of the ultraviolet spectra of organic molecules as a means of investigating their electronic structures. She led one of the earliest collaborative research groups that involved faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students.[7]

During World War II Carr’s research program expanded to drug research, with a focus on attempting to synthesize drugs for treating malaria. Quinine, the most effective antimalarial drug, was a natural remedy from Southeast Asia, but the supply was cut off because of the war. Substitutes were badly needed, but Carr’s group was unsuccessful in finding a solution during the course of the war.[2]

She retired from Mount Holyoke College in 1946, the year after the war ended, but stayed engaged with science and education until her death in 1972.[1][3]

Carr was the inaugural recipient in 1937 of the Francis P. Garvan Gold Medal of the American Chemical Society (ACS), established "to recognize distinguished service to chemistry by women chemists".[8] She also received the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry of the Northeastern Section of the ACS in Spring 1957 (with colleague Mary Lura Sherrill).[9]

When her health began to fail her, she was placed in a care home in Evanston, Illinois, nearer to her nephew, James Carr, and the rest of her family. She died of heart failure on January 7, 1972.[1]

Carr Laboratory at Mount Holyoke College was dedicated in her honor in 1955.[3] The science building was reopened in Fall 2002 after being renovated and rebuilt in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria for green building.[7][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Data Bank of Scientists: Emma Perry Carr". Project NOVA (NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics). California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Emily Perry Carr". Online Resources > Chemical Education. Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Carr, Emma P. – Papers, ca. 1902–1986 – Manuscript Collection: MS 0517, Mount Holyoke College, retrieved 2011-03-31 .
  4. ^ "Emma P. Carr Papers (ca. 1902-1986)" (14 boxes). Manuscript Collection: MS 0517. Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Carr, Emma P. (1930), A Relation between Ultra-violet Absorption Spectra and Heats of Combustion, Nature 125: 237, doi:10.1038/125237a0 .
  6. ^ Washburn, Edward W., ed. (1927), International critical tables of numerical data, physics, chemistry and technology 5, New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. vii, 326 .
  7. ^ a b "Mount Holyoke Celebrates Reopening of Carr Laboratory, Second Phase of Science Center Project". Mount Holyoke News & Events. 10 February 2003. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Francis P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, American Chemical Society, retrieved 2011-03-31 .
  9. ^ Recipients of the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry, Northeastern Section, American Chemical Society, archived from the original on 2008-12-04, retrieved 2011-03-31 .
  10. ^ "Carr Laboratory". Facilities Management › Campus Buildings › Academic Facilities. Mount Holyoke College. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 

Selected writings[edit]

External links[edit]