Hazari’s Chemistry Magic Show to Celebrate National Chemistry Week

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KNOXVILLE — It’s an explosive event that typically draws crowds from throughout East Tennessee. It’s not Boomsday, though; It’s The Magic of Chemistry, and it’s happening at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13 in Room 555 of Buehler Hall on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus as part of National Chemistry Week.

The show, conducted by Al Hazari, a lecturer in the chemistry department, is known for helping introduce kids and grown-ups alike to the wonders of chemistry through a series of demonstrations. The demonstrations are intended to take the basics of chemical science and present them in a way that makes them accessible — and interesting — to the general public.

The demonstrations Hazari uses often consist of striking visuals from fireballs to rolling fog and a number of other scenes that give participants an engaging experience. The show is free and open to the public.

The “magic” in the show’s name comes from the way Hazari presents the demonstrations — with an element of fun and excitement that many people don’t directly associate with a scientific lecture. Hazari, who works extensively with public outreach programs in addition to his teaching duties, has practice in making science accessible. He gives frequently gives demonstrations in the community and teaches a UT Knoxville course on science for students who are not science majors, all with the aim of making science, and chemistry in particular, interesting to everyone.

In fact, many of the misunderstandings that Hazari has encountered among members of the public as he gives talks and demonstrations inspired a book, published earlier this year, called “Misconceptions in Chemistry,” which helps tackle many of the myths surrounding chemistry in our everyday lives.

National Chemistry Week is sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS) as a way to unite businesses, schools and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry to our quality of life. Similar programs to the one at UT Knoxville will be held around the country this week, and this year’s theme is “Chemistry — It’s Elemental!” Hazari’s role in helping advance the role of chemistry in society won him recognition from ACS in 2000 when he won the Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach.

C O N T A C T :

Jay Mayfield, (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)

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