UT Professor Shows the Magic of Chemistry

Al Hazari

KNOXVILLE – He’s a tie-dyed lab coat-wearing scientist who can create a liquid, bubbling rainbow inside a glass cylinder. He can demonstrate how Alka-Seltzer calms an upset stomach. He can transform bubbles into floating balls of fire.

For the 20th year in a row, Al Hazari, director of labs and lecturer in chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will dazzle crowds with his “Magic of Chemistry Show” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 19, in 555 Dabney-Buehler Hall. The one-hour show is free and open to anyone, young or old.

Part of National Chemistry Week (NCW), the show is both entertaining and educational. While Hazari conducts exciting and often explosive demonstrations, he unravels the mystery of how everyday items, such as diapers or cleaning supplies, work.

Throughout his career, Hazari has been committed to educating the public about the wonders and power of chemistry. Year-round, he can be found performing chemistry outreach programs in schools, museums, assisted-living centers and even at the grocery store.

“I want everyone to be science-literate citizens,” said Hazari. “It is especially important for us to capture young scientists’ interest early to keep their curiosity alive. People should know about and be comfortable with science. Kids are our future, and our goal is to inspire them to be inquisitive about science instead of fearing or dreading it.”

Hazari is the 2000 winner of the Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach from the American Chemistry Society (ACS) and author of the book “Misconceptions in Chemistry,” which helps tackle many of the myths surrounding chemistry in our everyday lives.

NCW is a community-based annual event that unites local ACS sections, businesses, schools and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry for the quality of life. During the week of October 17-23, ACS members will present the positive aspects of chemistry, promote science education and heighten the public awareness of the contributions chemistry has made to society and to everyday life. The NCW theme for this year is “Behind the Scenes with Chemistry,” and it celebrates chemistry in movies, set design, makeup artistry and common special effects.

To view a video of Hazari performing some of his magic tricks, visit http://www.wbir.com/video/default.aspx#/The+Magic+of+Chemistry/45310424001.

For more information about NCW, visit http://www.acs.org/ncw.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)

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