Kristopher McNeill: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2019

Award: The Golden Owl
Name Prof. Dr. Kristopher McNeill
FieldEnvironmental Chemistry
Organische Umweltchemie
ETH Zürich, CHN F 31.2
Universitätstrasse 16
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 632 47 55
DepartmentEnvironmental Systems Science
RelationshipFull Professor

701-0208-00LIntroduction to Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology
Prerequisites: Chemistry I & II and Microbiology.
1 credit1GG. Furrer, M. Lever, K. McNeill
AbstractWith excursions the students gain insights into scientific as well as practical aspects of various areas in which environmental chemistry and microbiology play a key role. Topics include a.o. waste water treatment, landfills, drinking water purification, impact of agriculture on surface water quality and environmental assessment of synthetic chemicals.
ObjectiveLearning of typical problems in environmental chemistry and microbiology. Applying basic knowledge of chemistry and microbiology to environmentally relevant problems.
ContentDiscussion of case studies combined with excursions.
Lecture notesMoodle (
Zusätzliche Unterlagen werden evtl. abgegeben.
Prerequisites / NoticeChemistry I and II and Microbiology
701-0420-01LPractical Training in Biogeochemistry Information 7 credits14PL. Winkel, P. U. Lehmann Grunder, K. McNeill, M. H. Schroth, A. Voegelin, S. Winton
AbstractFirst, the students learn how to analyze soil systems with physical, chemical and microbiological methods. Later, the students train their experimental skills by conducting kinetic experiments in the laboratory and by quantifying process rates under field conditions in a river.
ObjectiveThe students learn to apply physical, chemical and microbiological analysis tools in the laboratroy and the field. They use their theoretical knowledge to interpret their own data, and to critically assess and document them.
Lecture notesDescriptions of the methodologies will be provided.
701-1302-00LTerm Paper 2: Seminar Restricted registration - show details
Number of participants is limited.

Only for Environmental Sciences MSc.

Prerequisite: Term Paper 1: Writing (701-1303-00L).
2 credits1SL. Winkel, M. Ackermann, N. Gruber, J. Hering, R. Kretzschmar, M. Lever, K. McNeill, M. H. Schroth, B. Wehrli
AbstractThis class is the 2nd part of a series and participation is conditional on the successful completion of the Term paper Writing class (701-1303-00L). The results from the term paper written during the winter term are presented to the other students and advisors and discussed.
ObjectiveThe goal of the term paper Seminars is to train the student's ability to communicate the results to a wider audience and the ability to respond to questions and comments.
ContentEach student presents the results of the term paper to the other students and advisors and responds to questions and comments from the audience.
Lecture notesNone
LiteratureTerm paper
Prerequisites / NoticeThe term papers will be made publically available after each student had the opportunity to make revisions.

There is no final exam. Grade is assigned based on the quality of the presentation and ensuing discussion.
701-1303-00LTerm Paper 1: Writing Restricted registration - show details
Only for Environmental Sciences MSc.

Number pf participants is limited.
5 credits6AL. Winkel, M. Ackermann, N. Gruber, J. Hering, R. Kretzschmar, M. Lever, K. McNeill, M. H. Schroth, B. Wehrli
AbstractThe ability to critically evaluate original (scientific) literature and to summarize the information in
a succinct manner is an important skill for any student. This course aims to practice this ability, requiring each student to write a term paper on a topic of relevance for research in the areas of biogeochemistry and pollutant dynamics.
ObjectiveThe goal of the term paper is to train the student's ability to
critically evaluate a well-defined set of research subjects, and to
summarize the findings concisely in a paper of scientific quality. The
paper will be evaluated based on its ability to communicate an
understanding of a topic, and to identify key outstanding questions.
Results from this term paper will be presented to the fellow students and
involved faculty in the following semester (Term paper seminars)
ContentEach student is expected to write a paper with a length of approximately 15 pages. The students can choose from a list of topics prepared by the supervisors, but the final topic will be determined based on a balance of choice and availability. The students will be guided and advised by their advisors throughout the term. The paper itself should contain the following elements: Motivation and context of the given topic (25%), Concise presentation of the state of the science (50%), Identification of open questions and perhaps outline of opportunities for research (25).
In addition, the accurate use of citations, attribution of ideas, and the judicious use of figures, tables, equations and references are critical components of a successful paper. Specialized knowledge is not expected, nor required, neither is new research.
Lecture notesGuidelines and supplementary material will be handed out at the beginning of the class.
LiteratureWill be identified based on the chosen topic.
Prerequisites / NoticeEach term paper will be reviewed by one fellow student and one faculty. The submission of a written review is a condition for obtaining the credit points.
There is no final exam. Grade is assigned based on the quality of the term paper and the submission of another student's review.
701-1314-00LEnvironmental Organic Chemistry3 credits2VK. McNeill, T. Hofstetter, M. Sander
AbstractThis course is focused on environmental transformation reactions of organic chemical contaminants. An overview of important fate processes of organic pollutants will be given, along with a discussion of the factors that determine pathways and rates of transformation reactions. Special emphasis will be given to redox transformations, photochemical reactions, and enzyme-catalyzed processes.
ObjectiveThe students will
- further their knowledge of important classes of environmentally relevant organic compounds
- become familiar with the tools for studying reaction mechanisms
- learn the fundamentals of environmental photochemistry
- obtain a detailed understanding of redox reactions of pollutants and biogeochemically important species
- get a survey of important enzymatic transformations
- learn to critically evaluate published data
Content- Methods and tools used in the study of reaction mechanisms and kinetics
- Environmental photochemistry, including direct and indirect photolysis
- Redox properties of important environmental phases and redox reactions of organic pollutants
- Enzyme-catalyzed reactions involved in environmentally important enzymatic processes
Lecture notesMaterials that are needed beyond the required text will be distributed in the lecture.
LiteratureSchwarzenbach, R.P., P.M. Gschwend, and D.M. Imboden. Environmental Organic Chemistry. 3rd Ed. Wiley, New York (2016).
Prerequisites / NoticeIntroduction to Environmental Organic Chemistry, Bachelor 5th semester, M. Sander, K. McNeill
701-1350-00LCase Studies in Environment and Health4 credits2VK. McNeill, N. Borduas-Dedekind, T. Julian
AbstractThis course will focus on a few individual chemicals and pathogens from different standpoints: their basic chemistry or biology, their environmental behavior, (eco)toxicology, and human health impacts. The course will draw out the common points in each chemical or pathogen's history.
ObjectiveThis course aims to illustrate how the individual properties of chemicals and pathogens along with societal pressures lead to environmental and human health crises. The ultimate goal of the course is to identify common aspects that will improve prediction of environmental crises before they occur. Students are expected to participate actively in the course, which includes the critical reading of the pertinent literature and class presentations.
ContentEach semester will feature case studies of chemicals and pathogens that have had a profound effect on human health and the environment. The instructors will present eight of these and the students will present approx. six in groups of three or four. Students will be expected to contribute to the discussion and, on selected topics, to lead the discussion.
Lecture notesHandouts will be provided as needed.
LiteratureHandouts will be provided as needed.