University of Wisconsin-Madison Chemistry Professor
Bassam Z. Shakhashiri has been voted
president-elect of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the largest scientific
organization in the world with over 160,000 members in more than 100 countries.
As ACS president, Shakhashiri will be the most visible advocate for the
chemical sciences. "I will devote my presidency to showcasing
chemistry at its best in addressing significant societal concerns,"
he says. "It is through
chemistry that we can make major contributions to improve the quality
of life in the U.S. and to advance the human condition around the
Shakhashiri, the first holder of the William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the
Wisconsin Idea, has been at UW-Madison since 1970. He is a national and
international consultant to government agencies, academic institutions,
industry, and private foundations on policy and practice matters related
to science education at all levels. He is well known for his effective
leadership in promoting excellence in science education at all levels,
and for his development and use of demonstrations in the teaching of
chemistry in classrooms as well as in less formal settings, such as
museums, convention centers, shopping malls and retirement homes. He has
given over 1300 invited lectures and presentations in North America,
Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and South America. In 1983 he
was the founding director of the Institute for Chemical Education, and
from 1984 to 1990, served as Assistant Director of the National Science
Foundation (NSF) for Science and Engineering Education. There he presided
over the rebuilding of all the NSF efforts in science and engineering
education after they had been essentially eliminated in the early 1980's.
His leadership and effectiveness in developing and implementing national
programs in science and engineering education have helped set the annual
NSF education budget at its current level of over $900 million. In 2001
he founded the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy, with the goal
of promoting literacy in science, mathematics and technology among the
general public and to attract future generations to careers in research,
teaching and public service.
The vision of the ACS is to improve people's lives through the
transforming power of chemistry. The organization has 189 local sections
and publishes 38 scientific journals, with a chemical abstract record
count over 32 million. Chartered by the U.S. Congress, ACS is at the
forefront of the evolving worldwide chemical enterprise and is the
premiere professional home for chemists, chemical engineers and related
professions around the globe.
Shakhashiri will become president-elect starting in January. He will serve one-year terms as
president in 2012 and as immediate past president in 2013.