Emma Perry Carr (July 23, 1880 – January 7, 1972) was an American spectroscopist and chemical educator.
Early life and education
She was born in Holmesville, Ohio, the third child of Edmund and Anna Carr. Both her father and grandfather were country doctors who advocated education. 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. She worked at Mount Holyoke College as an assistant in the chemistry department 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. 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.
She began teaching chemistry at Mount Holyoke College in 1910. She became Chairman of the Chemistry department in 1913.
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. 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.
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.
She retired in 1946, and died in 1972.
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". 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).
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.
Carr Laboratory at Mount Holyoke College was dedicated in her honor in 1955. 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.
- Carr, Emma P.; Burt, C. Pauline (1918), "The Absorption Spectra of some Derivatives of Cyclopropane" (PDF), J. Am. Chem. Soc., 40 (10): 1590–1600, doi:10.1021/ja02243a009.
- Carr, Emma P. (1930), "A Relation between Ultra-violet Absorption Spectra and Heats of Combustion", Nature, 125 (3146): 237, doi:10.1038/125237a0.
- Carr, Emma P. (1947), "Electronic Transitions in the Simple Unsaturated Hydrocarbons", Chem. Rev., 41 (2): 293–99, doi:10.1021/cr60129a008.
- Carr, Emma P. (1957), "Research in a liberal arts college", J. Chem. Educ., 34 (9): 467, doi:10.1021/ed034p467.