Rich G. Carter
2. Area of study / position title
Organic Chemist, Professor and Chair of Chemistry
3. Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you, etc.)
I became a chemist because of my high school chemistry teacher – Dr. Larry Puckett. Dr. Puckett made chemistry relatable and fun. He would let us go into lab and do cool experiments – I remember getting to generate hydrogen gas into balloons and then light them on fire. I was 18 and fire and explosions were obviously something that kids my age like!
4. Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties?
My research group works on synthesizing molecules that contain carbon atoms. Many of these molecules have important biological functions and are made by nature already, but nature makes them in very small amounts. We also work on developing new reactions which helps to make our syntheses more efficient. I have recently been able to use my organic chemistry skills to start a new company which has been an amazing experience.
5. One thing that you truly love about your job?
Organic chemistry is the world’s greatest jigsaw puzzle. I love the challenge of trying to figure out how to put together a molecule by a series of reactions. I am also blessed to work with amazing students and colleagues.
6. One interesting/strange factoid about yourself.
That is impossible to answer! I love to travel and try new things, big technology nut, lived in Japan for 5 months, ride my bike every day rain or shine and have a wonderful family.