Eberhard Zwergel, a popular Northwestern University chemistry instructor with an engaging teaching style, is set to orchestrate his 14th annual Halloween-inspired chemistry show Friday, Oct. 29.

A video from Zwergel’s 2008 Halloween show.

A symphony of chemistry experiments set to music and dancing, Zwergel’s show will be presented during his four freshman-level classes two days 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 that pack the room with spectators. This year’s show, titled “Wildcat Horror Picture Show,” will feature the return of many popular phenomena as well as new surprises.

Students assist Zwergel in all the experiments and make up most of the background entertainment. Student groups TONIK Tap, the Bhangra Dance Team, Deeva Dance Troupe and the Ladycats cheerleading squad will perform, along with musical performances by members of Northwestern’s Wildcat Marching Band, Lexiband and a chamber orchestra.

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 the 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 across campus. This year the Undergraduate Chemistry Council is selling T-shirts featuring Zwergel’s face and the words “Man, machine, Eberhard.” 

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