University of Tennessee professor receives public outreach award

August 14, 2000

Inspires students and teachers to embrace the field of science

Washington D.C., August 15 - Scientist and educator Al Hazari, a professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, will be honored by the world's largest scientific society for helping people of all ages to understand and appreciate the wonders of science. He will receive the Helen M. Free public outreach award from the American Chemical Society at its 220th national meeting in Washington, D.C., on August 22.

Hazari's passion for chemistry is reflected in his personalized license plate, which reads "ALKMST."

"I have always enjoyed teaching and sharing something of myself and my knowledge with others, especially students. Kids are our future, and it should be part of the job of all scientists and chemists to work with students to help them learn about the field," he said.

For much of the last decade, Hazari's quest to enhance science appreciation has included public outreach activities ranging from classroom visits and teacher training workshops to special programs for teenage girls, scouts, underprivileged children and senior citizens. He lives by the simple motto that is the basis of his educational philosophy: "Science is for students from 2 to 102."

"What we're really after are science-literate citizens," said Hazari. "Everyone should know about and be comfortable with science. Our goal is to inspire students to become inquisitive about science instead of fearing or dreading it."
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Hazari helped his ACS local section develop and implement a K-12 outreach program in conjunction with the University of Tennessee. Scientists, engineers and university faculty visit area classrooms and conduct hands-on science and engineering activities. The program has been so successful it has attracted major corporate, state and professional sponsorship.

Hazari lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with his wife and three children. A native of Lebanon, he earned a B.S. in chemistry at the American University in Cairo, Egypt; an M.S. in analytical chemistry at Youngstown State University; and a doctorate in science education at the University of Tennessee.

The Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach is given each year to someone who makes a major effort to communicate to the public how the chemical sciences improve the quality of daily life.

A nonprofit organization with a membership of 161,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

American Chemical Society

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