Robert Q. Topper

Professor of Chemistry

Topper Group Members and Alumni

I am grateful to have learned from, worked with / for, and published with so many terrific students and colleagues.

Current Student Researchers:

  • Abdullah Ali, 3EE [Feynman path integral Monte Carlo methods] Spring 2023-present
  • Ubaidallah Hassan, 3ChE [atmospheric nanoparticles] Fall 2022-present
  • Andrew Kim, 3ChE/MEng [electrochemistry, software engineering, nanoparticles] Fall 2022-present
  • William Wang, visiting research student; Summer 2023-present

Visiting Scholars and Associates:

  • Miguel Amat, research associate, ChE 2001. Ph.D. U. Mass-Amherst in ChemE; postdocs at Princeton, MIT, U-Mass Medical School.
  • Steven L. Topperresearch associate [TransRot, machine learning] B.S. Univ. South Carolina, Computer Science


  • David Freeman, University of Rhode Island
  • Song Ling, University of California-San Francisco
  • Mark Tuckerman, New York University
  • Donald Truhlar, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

1993-2003 and 2009-present Group Alumni (Cooper Union):
Graduate Researchers at Cooper Union

  1. Garrett Bauer, ChE [Spartan-JMC, ECCC9, and bismuth nanoclusters].
  2. Denise Bergin, ChE [grad- Spartan-JMC; undergrad - NH4Cl nanoclusters] M.Eng. Cooper Union; J.D. Univ. California - Berkeley. Partner, Weaver Austin Villeneuve & Sampson LLP.
  3. Vlad Ciocoi, ChE [grad- AAF-DNA; undergrad - fluoride nanoclusters] M.Eng.Cooper Union. Strategic Finance, Disney+. 
  4. Gillian Frost, ChE2022, MEng.2024 Cooper Union [fullerene nanoparticles]. Data Scientist, Estee Lauder.
  5. Timothy IsgroChE [grad - AAF, ECCC8; undergrad - quantum steam tables] M.Eng. Cooper Union; Ph.D. Illinois (physics). CIO, Reverse Mortgage Investment Trust.
  6. Ryan Jaipersaud, ChE 2018; M.Eng. Cooper Union 2020 [machine learning]. Data Tech Consultant, Keyrus. 
  7. Joseph Kirtland, ChE [undergrad and grad - quantum steam tables] Ph.D. Cornell (physics). Assoc Professor at Alfred Univ. (physics).
  8. Anna Joselle Lomboy, ChE 2018 [grad - solvated ammonium nitrate nanoclusters; undergrad (2017-2018)ammonium fluoride clusters]. M.Eng. Cooper Union 2020. Senior Scientist, Henkel.
  9. Steven NeuhausChE [grad - nanomaterials; jointly with Marcus Lay]. Ph.D. Penn (Materials Eng). Currently a hardware engineer at Apple.
  10. Armaan Thapar, ChE 2018 [grad - simulated annealing in Python]. M. Eng Cooper Union 2019. Currently a data engineer at Georgia-Pacific.

Undergraduate Researchers at Cooper Union

  1. Eugene Agichtein, BSE [molecular clusters; global optimization], Ph.D. Columbia U. Professor of Comp. Sci. at Emory U.
  2. Miguel Amat, ChE [bismuth] Ph.D. U. Mass-Amherst (chemical eng).
  3. Jane Atkinson Gajwani, ChE [sulfide chemistry]. M.Eng. Cooper Union. Director, Office of Energy and Resource Recovery Programs at New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
  4. Jean Barmash, BSE [global optimization] Graduate work at NYU. VP of Engineering at 
  5. John BiswakarmaBSE [ammonium sulfate and bromide nanoclusters]. PhD, Northeastern U (chem eng).
  6. Christine Boelke, ChE [AAF-DNA and BAP-DNA].
  7. Christopher Briscoe, BSE [quantum steam tables]  Ph.D. CUNY (physics). Assist Professor of Physics at Iona College.
  8. Michael Capuzzi, CE [bismuth] - M.S. UC-Berkeley, MBA and MS, MIT. CFO, Mulhern+Kulp.
  9. Gerardo Cardone, EE [bismuth] M.B.A. Northwestern. Senior VP, Mastercard.
  10. Abraham Chung, ChE [enantioselectivity]. Process Engineer, Lummus.
  11. Chuen Lam (Jim) Chan, BSE [reaction mechanisms - with Bove]. Cloud Engineering Director, Oracle.
  12. Hiului Lana Chan, ChE [AAF-DNA]Ph.D. Yale U (chem eng). Director of Hardware Engineering at ProteinSimple.
  13. Kimberly Chung, ChE  [AAF-DNA and pHIP-DNA] Ph.D. U. Delaware (Chem E). Chemical Engineer at US Army - ARDEC.
  14. Dominic Coluccio, BSE [bismuth; ECCC7] M.S. NYU (computer sci); M.S. NYU (mathematics - finance). Director, Tilden Park Capital Mgt.
  15. Alexandra M. Deaconescu , ChE [bismuth]  Ph.D. Rockefeller (biochemistry). Assistant Professor at Brown Univ. (Mol Bio, Cell Bio, Biochem).
  16. John de la Parra, Jr., BSE [bismuth] - Ph.D. Northeastern University (chemistry). Director, GLobal Food Portfolio, Food Initiative at the Rockefeller Foundation.
  17. Kunmi Demuren, ChE [bismuth] - M.Eng, Cooper Union. Director, EAN Aviation Ltd; other positions.
  18. Poorna Dutta, ChE 22 [DNA damage] Technical Solutions Engineer, Epic Systems.
  19. Leonid Grinberg, EE [As/Sb/Bi clusters; global opt] M.Eng. Cooper Union. Tier 4 Support & Testing, IP/MPLS Network Edge at AT&T Labs, Inc.
  20. Raquibul Hannan, NYU Chemistry [AAF-DNA] M.D./Ph.D. SUNY Downstate. Assoc. Professor, UT-Southwestern Medical Center.
  21. Sophie JaroEE [grad - atmospheric nanoparticles]. M.Eng. (EE), Cooper Union 2022. 
  22. George Ho, BSE 2019 [ammonium halide nanoparticles]. Data Scientist, Flatiron Health. 
  23. Jo Kang, ChE [AAF]
  24. Tina Kiang, ChE [AAF-DNA] Ph.D. Johns Hopkins (biomedical eng). Division Director, FDA.
  25. Rachel KlarChE 2019 [ammonium halide nanoparticles]  R&D Engineer, PepsiCo.
  26. Anna Konvicka, EE 2023 [undergrad - mag-walk optimization]. Studying computational biology at Princeton.
  27. Sarah Kopel-Fink, ChE 2002 [Monte Carlo methods]. J.D., St. Johns U. Head of Legal, BBTV.
  28. Heather Kulik, ChE [environmental carcinogens] Ph.D. MIT (materials eng). Assoc. Prof. of ChemE at MIT.
  29. Joshua Kritzer, ChE [bismuth] Ph.D. Yale (chemistry). Prof. of Chemistry at Tufts University.
  30. Keirnan LaMarche, ChE [bismuth; Monte Carlo methods] Ph.D. Rutgers (chemical eng). Principal Scientist, Merck.
  31. Thomas Larrabee, ChE [computing - with Bove] Ph.D. Penn State (chemistry). Senior Process Engineer, Kurt J. Lesker Co. at Penn State U.
  32. Sangjoon (Bob) Lee, 4ChE [MC and atmospheric nanoparticles]; Spring 2022-Spring 2023.
  33. Brice Lee, ChE 2015 [enantioselectivity] M.S. Columbia U. Product Manager, Radish Fiction.
  34. Keon Lee, ChE [bismuth] 
  35. Darren Louie, ChE [environmental carcinogens and toxins] Master's degrees from NYU, Pacific College. Esoterra Acupuncture.
  36. Isaac Markus, ChE [NH4Cl nanoclusters; global optimization] Ph.D. U-C Berkeley (materials eng). Principal Engineer, Stealth Startup. 
  37. Sally Mikhail, ME [bismuth] Ph.D. Ohio State (physics) Faculty at Indiana U-Purdue U Ft Wayne.
  38. Anthony Mrockzowski, BSE [bismuth]Ph.D. Columbia (physics) Researcher at European Southern Observatory.
  39. Jodie Mueller, ChE [NH4Cl] 
  40. Kenneth Mui, ChE [bismuth, ECCC8, ECCC9] M.Eng. Cooper Union. V.P., AKRF, Inc.
  41. Neha Nichakawade, ChE [atmospheric nanoparticles]; Spring 2022.
  42. Vijay Raj, ChE [AAF and FAAF] D.O. Rowan University Resident Physician, Thomas Jefferson U. Hospitals.
  43. Niny Z. Rao, ChE [AMBER] Ph.D. Florida State U. (chemistry) Currently Assoc Prof at Thomas Jefferson U. 
  44. Loni Rodriguez, ChE [environmental carcinogens]  DDS SUNY-Buffalo
  45. Antonina Roll-Mecak, ChE [materials]  Ph.D. Rockefeller. Currently a senior investigator at NIH.
  46. Ruben Savizky, ChE [reaction mechanisms - with Bove] Ph.D. Yale (chemistry); Associate Dean of Engineering, Cooper Union.
  47. Saimon Sharif, ChE [neurotransmitters]. Engineering Manager, Attune.
  48. Andrew Sweeney, ChE [acid rain] . Co-CEO, ReadyWorks.
  49. Paul Sweeney, ChE [NH4Cl nanoclusters; global optimization] M.D. Tufts. Physician, Advanced Rheumatology of S. Florida.
  50. Daniel To, ChE [environmental carcinogens] Ph.D. NJIT (chemical eng). Manager, Product Development at Colorcon.
  51. Francis Torres, ChE  [NH4Cl; water; global opt methods] Head of Drug Substance Manufacturing Biologics at Sanofi-Genzyme.
  52. Guowei Yu, ChE [global opt methods]  M.Eng. Rutgers University. OPEX & EHS Manager at Greif.
  53. Wentao Zhang, ChE [enantioselectivity]  M.S. Columbia University. Currently at Columbia.

2003-2009 Undergraduate Researchers at Monmouth University

  1. John Brown, Chemistry [AAF and FAAF] M.D.
  2. William Feldmann, Chemistry / Chemical Physics [NH4Cl nanoclusters] Currently at Stevens Inst. (Physics)
  3. Nikhil Jain, Biology [AAF and FAAF]  M.D./M.B.A. (Drexel). Physician, Yale/New Haven Health.
  4. Mourin (Khaleel) Thomas, Biology [AAF and FAAF]  J.D. (Drexel). Counsel, Bristol Myers Squibb.
  5. Andrea Leotti Messina, Chemistry [AAF]. QC Director, Hovione LLC.
  6. Jared Pienkos, Chemistry, Hamilton College [HF clusters] Ph.D. U of Virginia (chemistry). Assistant Prof. of Chemistry at UT-Chattanooga.
  7. George Roesch, Chemistry [AAF]. 
  8. Catharine Russamano, Mathematics 2006 [NH4Cl]. Program Analyst, US Army Corps of Engineers.

1990-2009 High School Student Researchers

  1. Destin Jumelle-y-Picokens, U of Minnesota, NIH High School Research Intern [potential energy surfaces]
  2. Nihal DayalREAP Summer High School Research Intern at Monmouth University [AAF and FAAF] . Software engineer, GoGuardian.
  3. Grace LeeREAP Summer High School Research Intern [NH4Cl nanoclusters]
  4. Joseph Safdieh, CUSRIP High School Research Intern [gas-phase SN2 reactions]

(Names are missing for 48 other high school students advised at Cooper Union through the CU High School Summer Research Program, due to a records loss.)

Erdos numbers are kind of fun. They are counted by the number of academic connectors which separate two people on the "family tree" of advisors, students and co-authors. Erdos was famous for his collaborations, which is why mathematicians like to calculate their own Erdos number.

Last time I checked (various sources, some of which aren't available now sadly), I have

  • a Dirac number of 7 (and as my students know, I met Dirac and his wife once as an undergrad)
  • an Erdos number of 6
  • a Feynman number of 5
  • a (Roald) Hoffman number of 5
  • a Pauling number of 3
  • a Bohr number of 4
  • a Schroedinger number of 4
  • a Lennard-Jones number of 4
  • a Sommerfeld number of 4
  • a G.N. Lewis number of 3 (and I once met Lewis' last graduate student, Michael Kasha - a CU alum)
  • and a Karplus number of 2

So if you have ever published a paper with me, you have an Erdos number of no greater than 7, and so forth. Of course, everyone who has ever worked for me also has made other connections since and so these numbers may have changed!

Here's my link to the Chemistry Tree.