The award, the highest honor that Caltech gives to its graduates, recognizes achievement of significant value or a career of noteworthy accomplishment. In its citation, the institution said Carter was recognized for “her visionary leadership in sustainable energy and engagement with the broader scientific community and for her development of powerful theoretical methods based on quantum mechanics that have greatly influenced chemistry and engineering.”
Carter, the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment, is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and applied and computational mathematics. She was the founding director of Princeton's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. She became dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science in July 2016.
Carter is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. She has received numerous awards recognizing her work, including the Irving Langmuir Prize in Chemical Physics from the American Physical Society and the Award in Theoretical Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.
She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California-Berkeley and her doctorate in chemistry from Caltech. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2004, she was a professor at UCLA.
The alumni award will be presented to Carter and four fellow recipients at Caltech on May 18.