We are a dynamic and visionary organization committed to improving people’s lives in our community through the transforming power of chemistry. We strive to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Kalamazoo, Allegan and Van Buren counties.
It was a cool Tuesday, March 26, when about 90 curious listeners - High School students and parents, High school teachers, WMU faculty and graduate and undergraduate students, other ACS members - gathered in a large lecture hall in the Chemistry building at WMU to listen to the titled talk by Dr. Al Hazari Director of Undergraduate Laboratories of the Univ. of Tennessee-Knoxville, co-author of a book “Common misconceptions in Chemistry” and recipient of several awards for his Public Outreach activities. In addition to the unusual title, there were pizza and snacks available to attract listeners - these were enjoyed by a major portion of the audience, too. By way of slides, books, and “toys” Hazari kept our interest in the thought that chemical concepts, from the elements to their properties and reactions, can be found described in comics and in appropriate lighthearted comments in the popular press; these, then, can be used not only to pique but also to engage students’ interest and more permanent understanding of chemical/scientific concepts. Dr. Hazari is not given to slow, deliberate presentations, so we were kept actively entertained as he presented his slides. He ended this talk with the demonstration of electrical conductivity by way of his little “travel companion doll “singing” ring around the rosey…” when the circuit is complete. In the morning of the same day Dr. Hazari offered to speak to a 5th grade class at Haverhill Elementary School in Portage; it was a pleasure to see the children respond with great interest as they participated in his enthusiastic explanation and demonstration of the scientific method and some “unexpected” observations - Dr. Hazari acts on the belief that children are “born scientists” who need to be encouraged to ask questions and learn how to look for answers.