1995 Yearbook of Science and the Future
The currently reigning dean of American chemistry lecture demonstrators is Bassam Zekin Shakhashiri, professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. Born in Lebanon in 1939, he is probably best known to the public for his Faraday-inspired annual entertainment "Once Upon a Christmas Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri," which he has performed since 1970. His 1991 performance at the University of Wisconsin was taped by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) for nationwide airing just before Christmas.
As an articulate advocate for science, Shakhashiri, like many of his distinguished predecessors and contemporaries, seeks to impart the joy of discovery that has aroused young minds throughout history. He believes that his excitement will lure future generations to careers as researchers, entrepreneurs, and teachers. He is famed for his creation and use of demonstrations in teaching chemistry not only in lecture halls and laboratories but also in less formal settings like convention centers, shopping malls, and retirement homes. His interactive chemistry exhibit has been on display at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry since 1983, the year in which he founded and became first director of the Institute for Chemical Education. Between 1984 and 1990 he served as the NSF's assistant director for science and engineering education.
|Bassam Shakhashiri, the currently reigning dean of American chemistry lecture demonstrators, is probably best known to the public for his annual entertainment "Once Upon a Christmas Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri," which he has performed for more than 20 years. The show, comprising explosions, dramatic color changes, and other chemical "magic" commemorates Faraday's Christmas Lectures while promulgating Shakhashiri's ubiquitous motto that "science is fun."|