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Lee Marek

Contributor II
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Marek_Lee.jpgLee Marek taught Chem 101, 472 and presents chemical demonstrations and teacher programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for 12 years. He taught AP & Honors Chemistry at Naperville North High School for almost thirty years. His students have won numerous awards, including 3 chosen to be National Chemistry Olympiad participants and several for Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Projects. Lee has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, a MST in physics and an MST in chemistry from Roosevelt University. He has completed additional course work at more than 20 colleges and universities. He has a strong interest in the History of Chemistry and has traveled extensively in Europe, studying the history of science. For thriteen summers he co-led a history of science program in Europe. Lee has helped to run or co-lead well over 600 workshops/programs for teachers, students and the general public. He was the catalyst behind the Weird Science demonstration team, a small group of inspired teachers that toured the country inspiring other teachers, and has presented to over 400,000 teachers, students and general public. Lee worked on science programs with Fermilab for over 25 years and was on the Friends of Fermilab board for 20 years. Among the awards Lee has received are the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Science, Christa McAuliffe Fellow, American Chemical Society's James Bryant Conant Award, ACS Helen Free Award for Public Outreach, CMA's National Catalyst Award for Teaching Chemistry, Chemical Industries Council of Illinois Davidson Award, Sigma Xi Outstanding Teacher Award, Those Who Excel Award Illinois, Tandy Technology Scholar Award for Outstanding Teachers, Governor’s Master Teacher, Association of Science & Technology Centers’ Honor Roll of Teachers, Golden Apple Awardee and Chicago Section ACS Public Affairs Award. He was a Woodrow Wilson Chem Team leader for ten years and a Flinn Chem Team Leader for nine years. He helped start and ran CHEMWEST, a teachers alliance group of over 400 teachers, in the Chicago area for 14 years. He has done videos, laser disks, DVDs, some of the first streaming science videos on the web and consulted for a number of other science related projects. Lee has also become a regular [over 35 performances by either him or his students] on "The David Letterman Show", and one of his segments was a finalist for an Emmy. He was highlighted on the 40th anniversary the Bozo Show and CBS news special Education: Our Nation’s Toughest Assignment, and numerous regional and national television programs. He authored several kid’s science books and kits. Lee worked on several projects for Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman. His complete vita and other information on his programs and activities can be found on his web page:


Chemistry on the Late Show with David Letterman (Part 1)

The audience for the David Letterman show is not unlike a classroom full of high school students or college freshman! It's sitting there daring you to be interesting! One way to capture attention is to do demonstrations that are exocharmic [radiate charm-- make you want to watch] and to be a bit weird/eccentric. I use demonstrations as exocharmic motivators to captivate student interest and to focus on the day's topic. To influence high school kids, college freshman, or the general public like the Letterman show audience, you need "presence". We live in a world of the 15-second commercial, internet, IM, YouTube, Twitter, FaceBook and the National Enquirer. We need to compete, to show the people that there is something interesting and important in learning science, something about which "inquiring minds really do want to know." I will present a number of clips from the 35 Letterman shows I have been on in the past 25 years- including one used on his 10th anniversary show and one that was up for an Emmy award. I will also do a few of the simple demos with the audience.

Chemistry on the Late Show with David Letterman (Part 2)

Please see the abstract for Part 1. My first talk only gets half way through the Letterman shows. I will present more clips from the 35 Letterman Shows I have been on in the last 25 years. Good teaching is part knowledge, part preparation and part theater and so is doing science on THE LATE SHOW. I use what is called the "Phenomenological" approach to teaching science -- introducing a topic with a demonstration or lab so that students have something concrete on which to focus. The demo clips presented will range from the 8-foot ball of fire shooting across the stage to the time I covered the set in Styrofoam. I will describe the time I dissolved the set, discuss the 1000 pounds of thermite demo [never done] and show the time the 500 pounds of Oobleck got loose. There may be a clip of when I almost took out Bozo on WGN! I will also do a few of the simple demos with the audience depending on the venue we are assigned.


911 E. Porter

Naperville, IL, United States, 60540


Home: 630-420-7516

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