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March 2, 1998

'Science is Fun' lecture-demonstration coming to UCSC

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri knows how to make science fun

Balloons explode, polymers expand, solutions glow in the dark--and it's real science

By Jim Burns

Chemist and educator Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, whose entertaining lectures captivate children and adults alike, will deliver his popular "Science is Fun" presentation at UCSC on Thursday, March 12. The lecture-demonstration, open to the public at no charge, will begin at 7 p.m. on the Performing Arts Mainstage on the UCSC campus.

Shakhashiri is a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his chemical demonstration shows, including his "Science is Fun" lectures, have been carried on PBS television stations throughout the country. The professor's experiments are entertaining--and highly regarded for the scientific principles that they teach.

Shakhashiri has played to packed houses in a variety of venues, including the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Science in Boston. His popular lecture, "Once Upon a Christmas Cheery, In the Lab of Shakhashiri," is carried on TV stations throughout the country each December.

A native of Lebanon, Shakhashiri came to the United States with his family in 1957 when he was 18. He completed an A.B. in chemistry at Boston University (1960) and earned a master's degree and Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Maryland (1964 and 1968). He joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin in 1970.

Professor Shakhashiri has a distinguished record of service in the area of science education, having served as assistant director of science and engineering education for the National Science Foundation. In that position, he was responsible for the design and administration of a variety of programs to improve all levels of education in mathematics, engineering, and the sciences.

His visit to UCSC is sponsored by the campus's Division of Natural Sciences.

For more information on Professor Shakhashiri's "Science is Fun" series, see http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu.

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