Robert Q. Topper

Professor of Chemistry


My research and teaching interests span and connect the fields of chemistry, physics, biology and engineering. My research these days is primarily in the areas of nanoscience, atmospheric chemistry, and biophysical chemistry, using computational and theoretical methods. I am currently carrying 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 molecules of biological interest. Current interests also include the formation of inorganic nanoparticles in polluted marine atmospheres and proton transfer phenomena within ammonium halide particles.

Our group has also worked on problems in reaction rate theory, phase-space transport theory, nonlinear dynamics, rigid-body mechanics, Feynman path-integral quantum thermodynamics of high-temperature gases, semiclassical molecular dynamics, materials property simulations, reactivity trends in substituted bicyclic thioacetals, and chemically-induced DNA damage by environmental mutagens (polyaromatic hydrocarbons and aromatic amines).

Together with my students and colleagues, I've published 56 peer-reviewed manuscripts, learning objects, and conference abstracts; written and co-authored 4 book chapters; organized 5 international scientific conferences; and given 21 invited seminars at colleges, universities, conferences, and high schools. I've also presented and/or co-authored 33 lectures and poster presentations at regional, national and international scientific conferences. 

I teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses in general, physical, and inorganic chemistry and occasionally courses in engineering. I also direct engineering students in independent research, including graduate students in chemical engineering.

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."

I'm on LinkedIn, and you can also follow my research discussions on ResearchGate.