Robert Q. Topper

Professor of Chemistry

CU Chemistry and Chemical Engineering History

 The image to the right [30] was taken in 1979 and features faculty and alumni from the Chemical Engineering and Chemistry departments. Among the faculty pictured here are John Bove' (Chemistry - first row on the right), Robert (Bob) Kapner (Chem Eng- first row, third from right), George Chang (Chem  Eng - first two, fourth from right), S.I. Cheng (Chem Eng - second row on the left), Zvi Koren/Kornblum (Chemistry - next to S.I.) and Julius "Jack" Klerer (Chemistry - last row on the left). 



 This photo of the Chemical Engineering Class of 2015 also includes some faculty and staff. In the last row,  L to R: Profs. Charles Okorafor (Chem Eng), Ruben Savizky (Chem), Richard Stock (Chem Eng), Robert Topper (Chem), Daniel Lepek (Chem Eng), Mr. Cody Hirashima (student), Ms. Liz Leon (Administrative Associate), Prof. Irv Brazinsky (Chem Eng) and Mr. Mike Westbrook (technician, Chem Eng). In the second row from the front, Prof. Andrea Newmark (Chemistry) is on the left side of the photo. Notably, Profs. Savizky, Lepek, and Brazinsky are all Cooper Union alumni.



For more photos of our students, faculty and alumni please visit the following links:

First There Was Chemistry

Established in 1859 at the founding of Cooper Union, the Department of Chemistry is one of the oldest academic chemistry departments in New York City.[1]  Peter Cooper himself was no mean chemist, holding numerous patents in areas that we would consider chemical engineering - most notably, the manufacture of gelatin and glue.[18]

The first full three-year "evening science" course of study was offered in 1860 [15] and the first of the five-year graduates completed their program in 1864. Prof. Charles Stone was the first chemistry laboratory director. In 1870 Stone began organizing laboratory facilities "sufficient for chemistry instruction." [16] 

One of Cooper Union's most famous alumni, Thomas Edison, studied chemistry here in 1872.[8,23]  Like Edison, many students studied chemistry on a course-by-course or certificate basis before and after the first degree in Chemistry was established. 

The 24th Annual Report of the Trustees (1883) testifies that a diploma in Chemistry was approved by the Trustees in 1881.[14] This degree "represents a five years' attendance in the scientific classes of the Cooper Union associated with strict examination, or at least three years' attendance in the [Chemistry] Laboratory, after passing an admission examination..." and was meant to be an alternative to the "science" program, which was focused on engineering.[14] Those three years would have focused on a year each of general, organic and analytical chemistry.[21] Following that, in 1884 the 25th Annual Report [13] testifies to the existence of the "Cooper Union School of Chemistry (see image)." One student in particular - Robert S. Senger - was recognized in 1884 by the Trustees as a "Graduate" in chemistry, having already completed the new Chemistry course requirements. This was because Senger has already completed significant work in chemistry by the time the diploma was approved. He therefore was the first person to be recognized as completing a course of study in chemistry at the Cooper Union.[13] In that same annual report, a person identified as "Miss Helen V.Blake," residing at "The Rockingham, Broadway and 56th St., New York" was listed in the roster of first-year students in the School of Chemistry. She appears to have been the first woman to study chemistry at the Cooper Union. [13]  

According to an earlier chronology [16], the "five-year diploma course in chemistry" was approved in 1883 and the first graduates of the "Night Chemical course" completed the program in 1888.[9]  However, we see above that the first graduate - Robert S. Senger - completed the degree in 1884 on the basis of his earlier work, and therefore he is clearly an important part of Cooper Union's history as its first graduated chemist.

Victor Bloede (a prominent Cooper Union "chemistry" alumnus) was also a very early student in the engineering school, completing his studies in 1867, before the Chemistry course had been created.[10] This was done with a very strong emphasis and training in chemistry.[21] The initial presence of a cadre of excellent chemistry students like Bloede was certainly a driving force for the subsequent creation of the Chemistry degree in 1883. As an aside, we note that one of the 1884 certificate recipients (Maximilian Toch) became a prominent chemist, eventually rejoined the Chemistry department as an adjunct faculty member in 1920, when he was appointed to help head up a new degree program in Industrial Chemistry (see below). [2] 

In summary: the Chemistry department was established in 1859 and the course in Chemistry was approved in 1881 and began in 1883, with its first graduate completing the course of study in 1884.   

Then there was Industrial Chemistry, and then Chemical Engineering

We can now proceed to what we know about the establishment of the chemistry and chemical engineering degrees. It is well known that the first degree program in chemical engineering in the United States was established in 1888 at MIT. [11]  However, chemical engineering did not come to Cooper Union as a degree program until later. The first "specialized" engineering programs at Cooper Union were established in 1900 in civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering and were taught solely in the evening. In 1900, the "Day School" (more properly, the Free Day School of Technical Science) was created and in 1905 it gained approval from New York to offer four-year programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, including a bachelor's degree in Chemistry.[16]  The Chemistry degree continued to be offered as part of the "Night School" (more properly called the Free Night School of Science). The Night School also offered degrees in general science and electrical engineering, as well as a three-year course (sort of an asociates degree) in mechanical drawing. In 1918 an announcement appeared in the Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry that a committee was formed to raise $2 million for a new Chemistry building for Cooper Union. The committee consisted of a "who's who" of alumni and faculty; Victor Bloede, Henry Enders, John Olsen, Alfred Spice (the son of Prof. Robert Spice and a Cooper Union alum),[58] P.C. Walsh, Jr., Maximilian Toch, H.A. Metz, S.A. Samuels, and Edward R. Hewett (who was both the Treasurer of Cooper Union and a chemist in his own right).[59] Shortly after this, John Olesen left Cooper Union for Polytechnic University so it is possible that this interfered with the fundraising effort; little more than this is known at present other than the fact that no such building was ever constructed. [56] [57]  

During the year 1920-1921, 888 students were enrolled in the Night School and 153 students were enrolled in the Day School. Within the Night School, 166 students were enrolled in the Chemistry course of study.[37] These numbers represented a return to Night School enrollment figures which dropped precipitously during World War I, but were a significant drop for the Day School's enrollment. This was attributed due to post-war economic hardships felt by many New Yorkers at that time which prevented many of them from seeking a free education during normal working hours.[37] 

That same year (1920), a new degree in Industrial Chemistry was announced to the press. [2] This program admitted 18 students in 1921[16,37], at the same time as 166 students were enrolled in the Chemistry course, and first appears in the 1921-1922 course catalogs. The Chemistry degree program has always focused on highly practical instruction, so the changes needed were minimal. However, this was clearly a transition period because during the same year, the Regents of New York State approved Cooper Union to offer B.Sc. degrees in civil, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering, and the Day School became the Cooper Union Institute of Technology. A few years later in 1923, the Chemical Engineering degree first appeared in the 1923-1924 course catalog, and in 1924 the Day School was renamed the "Institute of Technology."[38] In 1924 the Industrial Chemistry degree no longer appeared in the catalogs of either school, having been completely replaced by the Chemical Engineering degree. Thus, the Industrial Chemistry degree was "developed into" the Chemical Engineering degree at Cooper Union. "...there having been added the subjects of Mechanics, Hydraulics, Sanitary Engineering, Differential Equations, Electro-chemical Installations, and Economics." [16]  The 1935-1936 catalog states that the Chemistry degree offered as part of the Night School program was changed to Chemical Engineering a year later in 1925, but that date is contradicted by the 1924 Trustees report [38] as well as the 1925-1926 combined report [39], both of which identify the transition as having begun with the 1924-1925 term. The latter report states that a four-year course in Chemical Engineering is offered within the Institute of Technology (Day School) while a five-year course is offered within the Night School of Engineering.[40] 

As far as the department structure is concerned; until 1928 the Chemistry department was headed by Horace Byers, who was a Professor of Chemistry. The 1928-1929 catalog has a brief description of the Chemistry department and its capabilities. However, in the 1929-1930 catalog one sees that Byers had left Cooper Union and Albert B. Newman, Professor of Chemical Engineering, was the department head. The same departmental description was included but the catalog section was entitled "Chemical Engineering." This was also the first year that some of the department faculty members were designated as "Professor of Chemical Engineering" or "Instructor of Chemical Engineering." So, although the Chemistry department was established in 1859, the department became a Chemical Engineering department (nominally) in 1929. By 1939 the Department of Chemical Engineering faculty still consisted of a mix of chemists and chemical engineers as it prepared for accreditation by the AIChE.[16] The department continued to consist of both chemical engineers and chemists until 1972 (see below).

In summary: Following the establishment of the original three-year diploma program in Chemistry in 1883, the four-year B.S. in Chemistry was launched in 1905 as part of the newly established "Day School." The Chemical Engineering degree at Cooper Union was first established in 1924 (replacing the Chemistry degree by 1929), and in 1929 the name of the Department was changed to Chemical Engineering. Prior to that, the Cooper Union offered courses in Chemistry from 1883 to 1929. As of 2021, Cooper Union has been providing degree programs in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Applied Chemistry for 137 years.

The Present

During the 1970s, the departmental structures of the entire Cooper Union were disrupted in a series of controversial administrative decisions.[16,17] In 1972 all departments throughout Cooper Union were eliminated and in 1975, the Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics faculty were taken out of the School of Engineering and combined with the Humanities and Social Science faculty to form a new faculty of "Liberal Arts and Sciences."[17] Unlike the other departments, the faculty formerly in the Chemical Engineering department were now split up between the two schools.

Five years later (in 1979) following turmoil and controversy, the four Engineering discipline departments and the Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics departments were reconstituted as seven departments within the School of Engineering. [16]  Since most of the Chemiical Engineering and Chemistry faculty remembered that they had all been in the same department together for many decades, the chemists and chemical engineers resolved to continue to work closely together in future - a relationship that continues to this day. 

Summary: The faculty of the renamed Chemical Engineering department consisted of both chemical engineers and chemists from 1929 until 1972, at which point the department was administratively divided into separate Chemical Engineering and Chemistry departments.

Notable and Prominent Alumni

The following is a list of notable and prominent alumni who either (a) studied within the Cooper Union Chemistry or Chemical Engineering programs, or (b) studied in the general engineering or other programs with a strong focus on chemistry, possibly including research within the two departments. Suggestions for additions are always welcome.

  • Eugene Agichtein (B.S.E. 1998), Ph.D. Columbia (2005). Winship Professor of Computer Science, Emory University. Carried out research and published original work in stochastic optimization methods as an undergraduate in Prof. Topper's research group. (b)
  • Elmer J. Badin (Chem Eng 19XX), Ph.D. Princeton (1945). chemical engineer / industrial chemist (recognized for his work in photosynthesis with Nobel laureate Melvin Calvin, as well as in tracer chemistry and hydrocarbons) and philanthropist. (b. August 21, 1917; d. June 3, 1999) [47,48,49,50] (a)
  • Charles Bliss (ChE’39/PDE’48)expert in power plant technology, promoting and developing local energy in all five continents, and climate change remediation, with a focus on the developing world. At age 101, holds the record for the oldest American to ever receive a US patent (in CO2 capture technology). CUAA Gano Dunn Award (2011) and Cooper Union Hall of Fame (2011). 
  • Victor Gustav Bloede* (Eng 1867), industrial chemist  [10,21] (b) Inventor of the self-adhesive postage stamp.
  • Kenneth Bridbord (Chem Eng 1964), Director of Training, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health (widely recognized for his work in disease prevention, global health, and international education); M.P.H., Harvard; M.D., Univ. of Chicago; AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation (2002);  CUAA Gano Dunn Award (2005); NIH World AIDS Day Award (2007); Cooper Union Hall of Fame (2009); HIV Prevention Trials Network Leadership Award (2019).
  • Maurice Brooks (Chem Eng 1947). Chemical engineer, consultant, and philanthropist; President and CEO of Lummus / Chair and CEO of Lummus-Crest. CUAA Gano Dunn Award (1976); Steven Tyler Award, AIChE. (May 18, 1922 - Jan 4, 2018). 
  • Walter Dean (Chem Eng 1926). CUAA Gano Dunn Award (1967).
  • Jack Eichenbaum (Chem Eng 1963), Queens borough historian, educator, expert in urban geography. Ph,D, Univ. of Michigan (1972). 
  • Thomas Edison (studied Chemistry in 1872)*, inventor [8,19,22,23] (b)
  • Isidor Fankuchen (Eng 1926), M.S., Ph.D. Cornell; also earned a second Ph.D. at Cambridge. Expert in x-ray diffraction; researched the crystal structures of proteins and nucleic acids and designed new methods of studying crystalline materials at low temperature. Professor, MIT, Anderson Institute, Polytech. Inst. CUAA Gano Dunn Award (1965); Cooper Union Hall of Fame (2009).  (b)
  • Henry Cornelius Enders (Chem 19??)*, Associate Professor of Chemistry and philanthropist.(d. April 1, 1948). 
  • Evan Granite (Chem Eng 1985, M.Eng. 1989), Ph.D., Univ. of Rochester. Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Pittsburgh. 
  • Marc Greenberg (Chem Eng 1982),  Ph.D. in Chemistry, Yale Univ. (1988).  Professor of Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University.Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1996); AAAS Fellow (2010); Arthur C. Cope Scholar (2016); Vernon K. Krieble Professor of Chemistry, Johns Hopkins (2016).
  • Malancha Gupta (Chem Eng 2002), Ph.D., Mass. Inst. Tech.(2007). Professor of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, and Chemistry, Univ, of Southern California. Jack Munushain Early Career Chair.  
  • Phyllis Hicks (Chem Eng 1952), served on the convention-organizing committee for the first organizational meeting of the Society for Women Engineers. 
  • Jason D. Hofstein (Chem Eng 1993), Ph.D. Stony Brook University (1999).. Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Siena College.  
  • Michael Kasha* (studied Chem Eng 1938-1940), B.S. Univ. of Michigan; Ph.D. Cal. Inst. of Tech. Professor of Biophysical Chemistry at Florida State Univ. (a prominent expert in photochemistry and molecular biology; was G.N. Lewis' last graduate student).  [24] (a)
  • Tina Kiang (Chem Eng 1997), Ph.D. Johns Hopkins Univ. (2004). Division DIrector, Food and Drug Administration. 
  • Joshua Kritzer (Chem Eng 2000), Ph.D. in Chemistry, Yale Univ.(2005). Professor of Chemistry, Tufts Univ. (2009-present); NIH-NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, 2005-09, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. 
  • Daniel H. Lepek (Chem Eng 2004),  Ph.D. New Jersey Institute of Technology. Professor of Chemical Engineering, The Cooper Union. 
  • Morton Lippman (Chem Eng 1954) M.S. Harvard; Ph.D. NYU. Expert in human exposure assessment and air pollution health effects, and philantrhopist; author and co-author of more than 300 research articles and 2 books, and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Medicine at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. CUAA Gano Dunn award (2012).   
  • Jerry Meldon (Chem Eng 19??)* , Ph.D., MIT. Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, Tufts Univ. (b. 1948; d. 7/18/2017). 
  • Albert Nerken* (Chem Eng 1933) [20], prominent chemical engineer and philanthropist; endowed the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at the Cooper Union. (a)
  • Herman Nikolayevskiy (Chem Eng 2011); Ph.D. Yale Univ. (2016). Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Univ. of San Francisco (2019-present). 
  • Niny Rao (Chem Eng 1998)Ph.D. Florida State Univ. (2002). Associate Professor of Chemistry, Thomas Jefferson Univ. (2007-present).  
  • Mark Roll (Mech Eng 2002), Ph.D. Univ. of Michigan (2010). Associate Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering and Director of Materials Science, University of Idaho. (b)
  • Ruben Savizky (Chem Eng 1998), Ph.D. Yale University. Associate Dean of Engineering and Professor of Chemistry, The Cooper Union. 
  • Alfred Schneider (Chem Eng 1951); Ph.D. Polytech. Inst. (1958). Research engineer, technical manager, consultant, and professor of nuclear engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology.  CUAA Gano Dunn Award (1993); Cooper Union Hall of Fame (2009). (b. 1927; d. Aug 20, 2020).
  • Barbara Schwartz (Chem Eng 1975), Ph.D. in Chem Eng, Princeton Univ. 1979. CUAA Gano Dunn Award (2003).
  • John Lawrence Smith (Chem 1911), chemist, pharmaceutical executive and co-owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers (a) [27]
  • Elizabeth Reiman Simons (Chem Eng 1950), Professor of Biochemistry at Boston University (d. 03/05/2019). (a) [31,34,35] . She was the only woman to graduate in chemical engineering in 1950 out of a class of 13 graduates.
  • Maximilian Toch (Certificate in Chemistry,1884) (also served on the faculty, see above) [1,2] industrial chemist and professor at five different universities (a,b)
  • Shabsi Walfish (Elec Eng 2001), Ph.D. New York University (2007). Software Engineer, Google; author of numerous publications. Carried out research and published original work in pattern recognition as a member of Prof. Bove's research group.
  • Edward J. Wasp (Chem Eng 1945). M.S. New York University (1947), M.S. University of Pittsburgh (1961), MBA Golden Gate University (1973). Pioneer in environmental engineering, particularly the development of slurry pipelines.
  • Jennifer Fenton Weishaupt (Chem Eng 1985), M.S. Tulane University (1987). Philanthropist and entrepreneur; co-founder & CEO of Ruby Slipper Restaurant Group; Operations Manager, Shell (1999-2015). Many awards. CUAA Public Service Award (2021). 
  • Stephen Welby (Chem Eng 1987), M.B.A. Texas A&M, M.S. Johns Hopkins (computer science), M.S. Johns Hopkins (applied mathematics).  Executive Director and COO, IEEE; Assist. Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering during the Obama Administration; senior leadership positions at DARPA. Many awards. CUAA Gano Dunn Award (2021).  
  • Robert R. White (Chem Eng 1936), M.S.(1936), Ph.D. (1938), Univ. of Michigan. Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Michigan (1942-1960), consulting engineer (1940-42;1960-67), and Dean, School of Management, Case Western Reserve (1967).  [33] (a)
  • Thomas P. Witelski (B.S.E. 1991). Ph.D. (1995), Cal Tech. Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke University (1998-). Published research with Prof. Bove's research group. (b)
  • David R. Yarkony (studied Chem Eng 1968-1970). B.A. SUNY-Stony Brook; Ph.D. UC-Berkeley; postdoc, MIT. Chair and D. Mead Johnson Professor of Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University. See
  • Barbara Yee (Chem Eng 1981; MChE 1982).  Founder of NY Pine Group at Morgan Stanley. Selected as one of Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors for 2020.
  • Jackie Yi-Ru Ying (Chem Eng 1987) Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT; nanotechnology scientist and founding executive director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore. [25] (a) . CUAA Gano Dunn Award (2016). Published research in Prof. Bove's research group. See

Current Full-time Faculty of the Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Departments

Current Adjunct Faculty in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (2020-2021)

  • Peter Bastos, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry. B.S. Rutgers U.; M.S. Stevens Inst. of Tech.; Ph.D. U of Nijmegen, Holland.
  • Sheryl Birke, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry. 
  • Thomas Carberry, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry.
  • Kevin S. Kolack, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry [1998 - present]. B.S. U of Virginia 1991; Ph.D. Indiana U 1997. 
  • Abel Navarro, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry. B.S. UPeruana Cayetano Heredia; M.S., Ph.D. New York U. 2011.
  • Daniel Radoff, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry. B.S. Miami U. 2004; Ph.D. Columbia 2011.
  • Bogdan Wilk, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry.
Technicans and Staff (2022-2023)
  • Christian Carter, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Laboratory Technician
  • Revans Ragbir, Chemistry Laboratory Technician 

Also see and 

Chemistry Faculty: A Historical List

The following is a list of full-time, tenure-track faculty who have served the Chemistry Department in the past. Current faculty are not yet included in this list. Those who are known to be deceased are marked with an asterisk (*). Years of service follow each person's title in brackets, where known. 

  • John L. Bove', Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Environmental Engineering [1958-2011] (b.4/3/1928; d.3/3/2022). B.A., M.S. Bucknell Univ.; Ph.D. Case-Western Reserve University. (Served as Chair of Chemistry, 1990-2010)
  • Horace G. Byers,* Professor Emeritus of Chemistry (Served as Department Head during 1920s; joined CU sometime after WWI) (b.1872; d.1956) [2,6]
  • James Coull, Assistant Professor of Chemistry [1930s-]. B.Sc.; A.M.; Ph.D. (institutions unknown)
  • Henry Cornelius Enders* (Chemistry 19??). Associate Professor of Chemistry [early 20th c.-1920?]. (d. April 1, 1948). B.S. Cooper Union (Chemistry); M.S. Columbia University. [26]
  • John C. Draper, Professor of Chemistry [1859]. (March 31, 1835 – December 20, 1885) Chemist, physician, professor at NYU amd City College. B.S. NYU, MD (institution unknown). Son of John William Draper, founder of the American Chemical Society, and Antonia C. dP.P. Gardner, personal physician to John VI of Portugal.
  • Julius "Jack" Klerer*, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry (b. 1928; d. 1996). B.A., M.S., Ph.D., New York University. Served as Acting Dean of the (now defunct) School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Also worked at Bell Labs. [17,29,30]
  • Zvi C. Koren (formerly Kornblum), Professor of Chemistry [1977-1991]. B.S. Brooklyn College, Ph.D., City University of New York. Served as Chair of Chemistry (1989). Subsequently worked at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design * Art in Ramat-Gan, Israel as Director of the Edelstein Center for the Analysis of Ancient Artifacts.
  • Rebecca A. LaRue, Associate Professor of Chemistry. [19XX-2001]. Ph.D., Univ. of Cincinnati.
  • Marcus Lay, Associate Professor of Chemistry. [2014-2019]. Ph.D. U. Georgia. See
  • John C. Olsen*, Professor of Chemistry [?-1918]. Came to Cooper Union from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute; returned there in 1918 to "take charge of the newly created department of Chemical Engineering." [36], [56]
  • Clarence S. Sherman, Professor of Chemistry [started sometime prior to 1953]. Sc.B., Sc.M., Ph.D. Brown University. [43] [60]
  • Robert Spice*, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry [1884-1914]. Served as Chair of Chemistry (1900-1914). [32] 
  • Charles S. Stone*, A.M., Professor of Chemistry and the first Cooper Union Chemistry Laboratory Director. [13]

Chemical Engineering Faculty: A Historical List

The following is a list of full-time faculty who have served the Chemical Engineering Department in the past, or who held a title as "Professor of Chemical Engineering." Current faculty are not yet included in this list. Those who are known to be deceased are marked with an asterisk (*). Still working on this. Includes faculty who were "Professor of Metallurgy" within the ChemE department.

  • Zikri M. Ahmed,* Professor of Chemical Engineering [1988-2008]; (1/1/1941-2008). B.Sc., Cairo Univ. (1966); M.S.,Ph.D., New Jersey Institute of Technology (1973 and 1981). [12] [54] 
  • Milada Alberts, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering [1981-?]. M.S. Institute of Chemical Technology, Prague; Ph.D., Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences, Prague.  
  • Irving Brazinsky (Chem Eng 1958), Professor of Chemical Engineering [1985 - 2016] (b 10/27/36; d. 4/14/22).[56] B.Ch.E. Cooper Union (1958). M.S. Lehigh Univ., Sc.D. Mass. Inst. of Tech.  (Served as Chair of Chemical Engineering). See  and .
  • George T. Chang, Professor of Chemical Engineering [1968-1987]. B.Eng. National Taiwan University; Ph.D. Rice University  (1966). [28]  
  • Caleb K. Charny, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering [1989-1991]. B.S.,SUNY-Buffalo (1983); Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University (1988); M.D., New York University School of Medicine and New York Hospital Medical Center-Cornell Medical Center (2000).  
  • Shang-I Cheng, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering [19XX-1992?]. B.S., National Chekiang Univ.; M.S., Ph.D. University of Florida. (Served as Chair of Chemical Engineering.)
  • Edward F. Ferrand, Jr.,Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering [hired prior to 1953; still on faculty in 1962...]. B.S. St. Johns U; graduate degrees unknown. [60?]
  • Robert S. Kapner, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering. B.Ch.E. Polytechnic Institute of New York (1950); M.S., University of Cincinnati (1952); D.E., Johns Hopkins University (1960). [51]
  • Herbert Liebeskind,* Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering [1945-1987] (d. April 1, 1996). B.S., New York University. [4]
  • Marca Lam (Anderson), Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering [1999-2006]. B. S., M.S., SUNY-Buffalo; Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Inst. Senior Lecturer, Rochester Inst. Tech. (2006-present)
  • Chongkit Laohaku, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering [1982-?]. B.Sc. University of Sydney; B.Sc. Imperial College; Ph.D. University of Cambridge. 
  • Albert Broadus Newman, Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering [1929-?]. First chair of the renamed Chemical Engineering department. Ph.D. (1928) Univ of Michigan. [33] 
  • J. Merriam Peterson, Professor of Chemical Engineering [started before 1953]. B.S., M.S., Iowa State U; Ph.D. U of Illinois. Director, "Green Engineering Camp".[60?]
  • Arthur H. Radasch,* Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering [1938-1963] (b. 1887; d. Feb 23, 1975). B.S. Mass. Inst. Tech. (1920). Previously taught at Alfred Univ. and worked at R&D dvision of Barrett Co. (1927-1938). Held patents on methods for coal-tar distillation. [7]
  • Allen L. Rakow, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering [1975-81] (b. Nov 16, 1943; d. 1999); B.Ch.E. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; M.Ch.E. Stevens Institute of Technology;  D.Sc. Washington University. Assoc. Professor, New Mexico State U (1981-1990).; Assoc. Professor, Colorado State U (1990-1999). [52,53]
  • George Sidebotham, Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering [Chem E. 1989-2003; Mech E. 2003-present]. B.S. Trinity College; M.A., Ph.D. Princeton.  
  • Richard J. Stock, Professor of Chemical Engineering [1994-ret. 2019]. Served as Chair of Chemical Eng and as Dean of Engineering. B. Sc. University of Nottingham, Ph.D. West Virginia University. 
  • Leonard Wender, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering [1953] B.Ch.E. City College NY; S.M., Mass. Inst. of Tech. (later became a part-time instructor) [60?] 
  • Norman E. Woldman, Associate Professor of Metallurgy [1953] B.S. Case Inst. Tech; M.S. Ohio State U; Ph.D. Columbia U.

Instructors: A Historical List

This faculty rank no longer exists at Cooper Union. It seems to have been mostly used for full-time faculty who taught within the school but did not hold a doctorate in their field of expertise, but was also used for certain part-time faculty. In the modern era virtually all chem/ChemE faculty hold a doctorate.

  • Joseph Allerton, Instructor in Chemistry [5]
  • Alfred R. Bayer,* Instructor in Chemistry. (b March 12, 1910; d. April 7, 2002). B.Ch.E. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst.; M.S. (Chemistry), Lafayette College (1933). Chief Engineer, Brooklyn Union Gas Co., for 30+ years; consultant. Also taught at the University of Algiers (Algeria). [5]
  • Henry A. Birdsall, Instructor in Chemistry [5]
  • Temple Clayton, Instructor in Chemistry. B. Chem., Cornell Univ. (1935); M.S., Columbia (1941). Research chemist in the Steroid group of the Research division of Schedring Corp. (Bloomfield, NJ). Also taught at Newark College of Engineering (which is now called NJIT).[5,41]
  • Donald W. Deed, Instructor in Chemical Engineering [5,42]. 
  • Frank R. Forrester, Instructor in Chemistry [5]
  • Victor Franceschini, Instructor in Metallurgy [1954]. B.S. [61]
  • Henry B. Hope, Instructor of Analytical Chemistry. B.Ch.E., A.M. (institutions unknown) [3]. Taught at Cooper Union from 1920s to 1967.
  • Herman Horn, Instructor in Chemistry. [1956] B.S., Brooklyn College. [63]
  • Raymond J. Kuntz, Instructor of Chemical Engineering [1930s]. B.S., Ch.E.[5]
  • Saul R. Locke, Instructor in Metallurgy [1954]. B.S. U Kentucky, M.S. Polytech Inst. Brooklyn. [61]
  • August Mendizza, Instructor in Chemical Engineering [5]
  • John D. Oathout, Instructor in Chemical Engineering [5]
  • Fred J. Roeben, Instructor in Chemistry [5]
  • Charles F. Stolzenbach, Instructor in Chemistry. B.Chem Eng., Cooper Union (1931); M.S., Columbia Univ. (1932).[5,44]
  • Maximilian Toch (Chemistry 1884+) Instructor of Applied Chemistry. Earned one of the first Certificates in Chemistry in 1884; coordinated the 1920 degree in Applied Chemistry. [2]
  • Norman M. Trieff, Instructor in Chemistry [1955]. B.S. Polytech Inst of Brooklyn; M.S. State U of Iowa. [62] 
  • William J. Wiswesser,* Instructor in Chemistry [during the early 40s]  (b. 1914; d. 12/1989) [5,45]. B.S. (1936), Ph.D., Lehigh Univ. (1974) (Chemistry). Inventor of the Wiswesser line notation (WLN).[46]  Wrote or co-authored more than 50 papers. Also worked at Hercules Research Station (Wilminton, DE); Trojan Powder Co. (Allentown); Willson Products (1945-1963); U.S. Army, Fort Detrick / Edgewood Arsenal (1963-). Numerous awards and honors, including the Herman Skolink Award of the ACS Division of Chemical Information and the U.S. Army Exceptional Service Award. [46]
  • Hector Zucchino (1953) Instructor of Chemistry. B.Ch.E. (institution unknown) [60?]

Adjunct Faculty: A Historical List 

The faculty listed below have taught in the department in previous years but are not active in the present academic year. Work in progress.

  • G.V. Chandrashekhar, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry (later 1990s - mid 2000s). B.Sc., M.Sc., Univ. of Mysore; Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology. "Chandra" did important work on high-tempeature superconductor research during his time with IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center.
  • Yanir Maidenberg (Chem Eng 2005), Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering. B.Ch.E. Cooper Union; M.S., Ph.D., Columbia Univ.(2011,2013). Currently at NYU-Tandon School of Engineering.
  • Albert Reis (Chem Eng 1977), Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering. B.Eng., Cooper Union (1977).[5]
  • James Rubenstone, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry.
  • Behrooz Satvat, Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering (1980s?)
  • Omar A. Sharafeddin, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry [1997-2017]. B.S. Baylor Univ; Ph.D. Univ. of Houston.
  • Susan T. Silk, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry. B.Ch.E., City College of New York; Ph.D., New York University.
  • Samuel Wiener, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry [2003-2021]. 



Perhaps no faculty member left more of a mark on the Chemistry Department, or on Cooper Union, in the 20th century than Prof. John Bove'. In this image he is pictured in his office at 51 Astor Place, shortly before the building was demolished and the School of Engineering moved to its present home at 41 Cooper Square. Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Environmental Engineering Bove' taught general, organic and analytical chemistry to generations of students, usually without the use of lecture notes. Bove' served from 1958 to 2011 (with a short break in the middle) and mentored countless research students and faculty members with wit and charm.


Professor Irv Brazinsky (ChE 1958), longtime chair of the Chemical Engineering department, is shown sharing his expertise in chemical thermodynamics with a student (with the Gibbs-Duhem equation displayed behind them). Brazinsky was, and is, an enthusiastic alumnus of Cooper Union. His leadership and character were admired and emulated by his students and his colleagues in the School of Engineering and the Chemical Engineering and Chemistry departments.



I am very grateful to the Cooper Union library, which gave me full access to Cooper Union's course catalog archives and created an invaluable online archive of annual Trustees Reports. The University of Illinois library system used Google Books to archive the Trustees Reports which cover the period of transition from Chemistry to Industrial Chemistry to Chemical Engineering at Cooper Union, which were extremely helpful as well. Mary K. Lynch was kind enough to provide helpful information regarding the Chemical Engineering faculty during the 1980s, and Prof. Andrea Newmark assisted me with her own memories and references.


[2] See Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, Vol. 12, No. 6, pp. 611-612 (June 1, 1920).
[7] The New York Times, Feb. 24, 1975, p. 24. Accessed 1/10/2017.
[8] R. Conot, Thomas A. Edison: A Streak of Luck (Da Capo Press, New York, 1979).
[9] Cooper Union Graduation Program, 1927 (Viewed in the Cooper Union Archives on 1/17/2017).
[10] Victor Gustav Bloede (chemist), Accessed 9/6/2018.
[11] N.A. Peppas, The First Century of Chemical Engineering, in Distillations, published by the Science History Institute, Fall 2008.
[12] "In Memoriam: Zikri Ahmed", At Cooper Union, p.34, Summer 2008.
[13] 25th Annual Report of the Trustees of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art,  May 28th, 1884. Accessed 2/6/2019. 
[14] 24th Annual Report of the Trustees of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art,  May 26th, 1883. Accessed 2/6/2019. 
[15] E.C. Mack, Peter Cooper: Citizen of New York (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1949). See p. 269.
[16] P. Buckley, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - Chonology (1997; revised by M. Brooks and C. Salomon, 2008).
[17] Decisions of the National Labor Relations Board, Case 2-CA-17483,p. 1768 (5 February 1985). 
[18] "Peter Cooper: Jell-O", Lemelson-MIT Program, . Accessed 4/8/2019.
[19] Note: Edison is included because he only took courses in chemistry at Cooper Union, in order to help him design an improved electrical stylus. See References 8 and 22.
[20] . Accessed 4/8/2019.
[21] "Victor Gustav Bloede",  Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biogaphies, . Accessed 4/15/2019.
[22] "Thomas Edison, Chemist: National Historic Chemical Landmark," American Chemical Society, . Accessed 4/15/2019.
[23] Topper, Robert. "Thomas Edison, Chemistry and Cooper Union" on the Cooper Union website, . Accessed 4/15/2019.
[24] "Dr. Michael Kasha," Florida State University Institute of Molecular Biophysics, . Accessed 4/15/2019.
[25] "Alumni Profile: Jackie Ying, ChE 87," Accessed 4/15/2019.
[26] "Henry C. Enders," The New York Times, April 2, 1948. Accessed 4/20/2019. (See below). Notably, Prof. Enders endowed the Enders Fund to support Cooper Union chemistry students wishing to pursue graduate work. 

[27] "John L. Smith", in "The Team that Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers," Society for American Baseball Research (2012). See also .
[28] "Taiwan's Struggle: Voices of the Taiwanese,"edited by Shyu-tu Lee and Jack F. Williams, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD (2014). See p. 53. Prof. Chung is also known as Chang Chan-hung.
[29] See Accessed 5/1/2019.
[30] See Accessed 5/1/2019.
[31] See . Accessed 5/1/2019.
[32] Nature, Volume 93, 1914. See Accessed 5/1/2019. 
[33] See*Wilkes%20Chemical%20Engineering%20History%20copy.pdf . Accessed 5/1/2019.
[34] See . Accessed 5/1/2019.
[35] See . Accessed 5/1/2019.
[36] 59th Annual Report of the Trustees of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (July 1, 1918). Accessed via Google Books on 6/9/2019.
[37] 62nd Annual Report of the Trustees of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (July 1, 1921). Accessed via Google Books on 6/9/2019.
[38] 65th Annual Report of the Trustees of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (July 1, 1924). Accessed via Google Books on 6/9/2019.
[39] 66th and 67th Annual Reports  of the Trustees of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (July 1, 1926). Accessed via Google Books on 6/9/2019.
[40] Since both the Day School and Night School offered only courses in civil, chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering in 1926, the different names seem less appropriate to the modern reader.
[41] B. Whitman and T. Clayton,"Identification of Unknown Substances," in Punched Cards: Their Applications to Science and Industry, edited by Robert S. Casey & James Whitnet Perry (1951). Accessed via Google Books on 6/9/2019.
[42] B.L. Lerner and C.S. Grove, Ind. Eng. Chem. 1951, 43, 1, 216-225. See Acknowledgements. DOI: .
[43] C.S. Sherman and R. Herzog, Ind. Eng. Chem. 1940, 12,3, 136-137. DOI: .
[44] Columbia University Catalogue for the Sessions of 1935-1935. Accessed 6/9/2019.
[45] "William J. Wiswesser, 75, Distinguished Berks Chemist," The Morning Call, 12/19/1989. 
[46] "Wiswesser line notation," Wikipedia. URL: Accessed 6/9/2019.
[47] D.R. Raichel, New Jersey's Union College: A History, 1933-1983. URL: . Accessed 5/14/2020.
[48] Elmer J. Badin and Melvin Calvin, The Path of Carbon in Photosynthesis. IX. Photosynthesis, Photoreduction and the Hydrogen—Oxygen—Carbon Dioxide Dark Reaction,  Journal of the American Chemical Society 1950 72 (11), 5266-5270. DOI: 10.1021/ja01167a134 .
[49] Elmer J. Badin (1917-1999). URL Accessed 5/14/2020.
[50] Elmer J. Badin, David R. Walters, and Robert N. Pease, The Ignition of n-Butane by the Spontaneous Oxidation of Zinc Dimethyl, Journal of the American Chemical Society 1947 69 (11), 2586-2588. DOI: 10.1021/ja01203a006 .
[51] "Conferring of Degrees at the close of the eight-fourth academic year," The Johns Hopkins University, June 14, 1960. See "Doctors of Engineering with titles of dissertations," Robert Sidney Kapner. 
[52] N. Rakow, private communication (2020).
[53] Allen Leslie Rakow, Accessed October 19, 2020.
[54] Zikri Mostafa Ahmed, Accessed December 15, 2020.
[55] "The Development of Appropriate Chemical Engineering Education for Nigeria," O.C. Okorafor, Chemical Engineering Education 21(2), 102 (1987).
[56] Obituary: Irving Brazinsky.