•  ()
  •  ()
  • Print this Story
  • Email this Story

Chemist Brings in Halloween with a Bang

Glowing fires, loud explosions and a Michael Jackson tribute mark annual chemistry show

text size AAA
October 28, 2009 | by Jasmine Rangel
Video produced by Matt Paolelli
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Eberhard Zwergel, a popular chemistry instructor with an engaging teaching style, is set to orchestrate his annual Halloween-inspired chemistry show Friday, Oct. 30.

A symphony of chemistry experiments set to music and dancing, Zwergel's show will be presented during his four freshman-level classes the day before Halloween. The shows will take place in LR3 (Lecture Room 3, first floor) in the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road, at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

What started as entertaining -- as well as educational -- demonstrations for his students have turned into show-stopping extravaganzas. Many popular phenomena are returning to this year's show, now in its 13th year -- and a special tribute to Michael Jackson has been added.

Students assist Zwergel in all the experiments and make up most of the background entertainment. Student groups Tonik Tap, March Masala and the Ladycats cheerleading squad will perform, along with members of Northwestern's Wildcat Marching Band, Lexiband and other musical performers.

Zwergel said non-students are welcome to see the show, if they can fit in the room.

Help was recruited from other science departments, including Arthur Schmidt from physics and Susan Fox from biology, who will bring in glowing worms. Shelby Hatch, another chemistry instructor, is leading graduate students in decorating the lab before the show.

Zwergel also puts on chemistry demonstrations throughout the year, including one for Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day and a spring performance next to Lake Michigan. His face is well known in the chemistry department. A T-shirt with his face is sold by the Undergraduate Chemistry Council. The T-shirt reads "Eberhard is my homeboy."