November 15, 2010



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 world."

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.