Robert Q. Topper

Professor of Chemistry

Ch 160: Physical Principles of Chemistry

NEW textbook for Spring 2021: Physical Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences by Chang and Thoman (University Science Press, 2014). See here: . This book is available in both hardcopy and electronic formats.

This is a unique course to the Cooper Union. Taught collaboratively by the full-time faculty, this course provides freshman chemical and interdisciplinary engineering majors with a calculus-based course in chemistry focused on thermodynamics, phase transitions, electrochemistry and chemical kinetics. It provides an important intellectual link between chemistry, mathematics and physics during the crucial first year of studies and ensures a strong foundation in thermodynamics for engineers.

Until Fall 2018, Ch 160 used an innovative "crit model" for instruction. In this model students solved problems individually or in groups, and came together for weekly "crit" sessions where they chose which problems to discuss and then collectively reviewed and critiqued one another's work. Students obtained differential benefits from learning a variety of problem-solving techniques from one another, with faculty guidance and correction. They also learned to rely on one another and begin to build themselves into a learning community. Unfortunately this model became impossible to utilize due to an administrative decision to reduce the number of contact hours permitted for instruction.