Annual Chemistry Show Ignites Halloween Spirit

No Halloween at Northwestern is complete without Eberhard Zwergel. For more than a decade, the chemistry department’s senior lecture demonstrator has dazzled audiences with his annual Halloween-themed science show. Backed by student dance troupes, a segment of the Northwestern University Marching Band, cheerleaders and a three-piece rock band, Zwergel and his team of student volunteers demonstrate the hotter side of chemistry with a lineup of experiments that usually end in an explosion of fire, a deafening bang or some combination of the two. Senior lecturer Arthur Schmidt usually drops in to demonstrate some fun with physics as well.

“They all have scientific significance,” Zwergel said. “And, at the same time, they entertain.”

Zwergel can’t explain why his show became a must-see tradition for students, but he attributes the event’s continued success to the dedication of those involved behind the scenes.

“It takes weeks to prepare and everyone in the show is a volunteer,” he said. “I could not do this without them.”

This year’s shows are Thursday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Tech LR3.

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