Robert Q. Topper

Professor of Chemistry












Brief Biography

2009-present    Professor, School of Engineering, Cooper Union
2017                 Visiting Research Professor, Department of Chemistry, New York University
2003-2009        Department Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, Monmouth University
1993-2003        Assistant and Associate Professor, School of Engineering, Cooper Union
1992-1993        Postdoctoral researcher, University of Rhode Island
1990-1992        Postdoctoral researcher, University of Minnesota
1986-1990        M.S., M. Phil., Ph.D. Yale University
1983-1986        Instruction Assistant and PLATO Coordinator, Department of Mathematics,
                             Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College
1981-1986        B.S. in Physics and Chemistry, Florida State University


My research is primarily in the areas of nanoscience, material science and biophysics, using computational and theoretical methods to study systems at the molecular level and provide cogent connections between theory and experiment. Many of our projects include the use and development of novel Metropolis-Hastings Monte Carlo methods.

Current interests include the study of nucleation and concomitant proton transfer phenomena within ammonium halide and nitrate nanoparticles, including solvent effects, useful in the study of atmospheric reactions in polluted marine environments as well as towards understanding the fundamental nature of the hydrogen bond. I have also carried out collaborative projects with the Tuckerman group at New York University which include the use of machine learning methods to help analyze the vast amounts of information produced by molecular dynamics simulations of biomolecules and polymorphic materials. 

Our group has also worked on important problems in quantum thermodynamics, reaction rate theory, phase-space transport theory and nonlinear dynamics, floppy-body rotational dynamics, semiclassical molecular dynamics, molecular order-disorder phase transitions, reactivity trends in substituted bicyclic thioacetals, conformational dynamics of neurotransmitters, and chemically-induced DNA damage by environmental mutagens. Consulting work has focused on greenhouse gas capture technology.

Together with my students and colleagues I've published 63 peer-reviewed manuscripts, learning objects, and conference abstracts; written / co-authored 4 book chapters and 4 book reviews; organized 5 international scientific conferences; and given 23 invited seminars at colleges, universities, conferences, and high schools. I've also presented and/or co-authored 34 lectures and poster presentations at regional, national and international scientific conferences.

I'm on LinkedIn, and you can also follow my research discussions on ResearchGate. Here's a citation index of our publications on Google Scholar.

I teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses in general, physical, inorganic, and theoretical chemistry and advise selected students in senior engineering projects. I also direct engineering students in independent research, including graduate students in our chemical engineering degree program. In 2009 and again in 2012, I was honored by Cooper Union's students when I was named to the Engineering Student Council's "Student's List."

Last edited 3/22/21