Instructor Bios

Dr. John Dolhun

Photo of Dr. John Dolhun.Dr. John Dolhun received a B.S. in Chemistry from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from MIT in 1973, under the supervision of Dr. Klaus Biemann. Prior to MIT, he taught undergraduate general and organic chemistry for ten years at Norwalk Community College (NCC) in Connecticut. While at NCC, he was very active in chairing various college governance committees, initiated an ongoing annual regional high school science fair, and founded an ACS approved chemistry club. During his sabbatical, he worked with Dr. Christos Zahopoulos at Northeastern University to bring the RESEED (Retiree Enhanced Science Education through Experiment and Demonstration) program to Connecticut. The program recruits and trains retirees with science/engineering/medical degrees to provide needed classroom support for K-12 science educators.

Currently, John is an Instructor in the Chemistry Department at MIT and a freshman advisor. His courses include 5.310 Laboratory Chemistry and 5.301 Chemistry Laboratory Techniques, which is a perfect segue course for a UROP position in the Chemistry Department. John enjoys participating in chemistry demonstrations, including the Cambridge Science Festival, which he has done annually since its inception in 2007, and MIT’s Campus Preview Weekend (CPW), which he has participated in since 2010. His research interests are in the areas of chemical education, virology and the synthesis of new antibiotics. His goal is to make sure non-major undergraduate students have all the required skills to function well in an Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory.

Image courtesy of Elizabeth McGrath. Used with permission.

Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri

Photo of Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri.Dr. Bassam Shakhashiri is well known internationally for his effective leadership in promoting excellence in science education at all levels, and for his development and use of demonstrations in the teaching of chemistry in classrooms as well as in less formal settings, such as museums, convention centers, shopping malls and retirement homes. His scholarly publications, including the multi-volume series, Chemical Demonstrations: A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry, are models of learning and instruction that have been translated into several languages. Professor Shakhashiri is the 2011 President-Elect of the American Chemical Society, and will serve one-year terms as president in 2012 and immediate past president in 2013.

He completed undergraduate work at Boston University (Class of '60) with an A. B. degree in chemistry, served as a teaching fellow at Bowdoin College for one academic year and then earned M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry at the University of Maryland ('64 and '68, respectively). After a year of post-doctoral research and two years as a junior member of the chemistry faculty at the University of Illinois-Urbana, Professor Shakhashiri joined the faculty of the UW-Madison in 1970, a position he still holds.

Professor Shakhashiri is an elected fellow of the South Carolina Academy of Science, the Alabama Academy of Science, the New York Academy of Science, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees from George Washington University, Illinois State University, Ripon College, University of Colorado, Grand Valley State University, University of South Carolina and Lebanese American University. He is a national and international consultant to government agencies, academic institutions, industry, and private foundations on policy and practice matters related to science and to education at all levels.

Read Dr. Shakhashiri’s full biography (PDF)

Image courtesy of Bryce Richter. Used with permission.

George Zaidan

Photo of George Zaidan.

George is a card-carrying nerd and lifelong teacher. He is MIT '08 and a Goldwater Scholar. He has written and hosted for The Weather Channel and worked on Alton Brown's science/cooking opus, Good Eats. In 2010 he founded Free Energy Productions LLC. His company has produced video for MIT, TEDEd, IBR, Sangari Active Science, Discover Magazine and New Scientist; and created a web series called Pocket Science that performs lossless compression on research articles to form 3-minute bites.

Image courtesy of Chelsey Farnum. Used with permission.

Jessica Harrop

Photo of Jessica Harrop.Jessica Harrop graduated from Princeton University in 2008 with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Certificate in Theater. For the past four years, she has worked to merge science and art through producing, editing, hosting, and writing a variety of videos for many different clients. She is currently working as the Associate Producer on her second show for PBS NOVA.

Image courtesy of Melissa Salpietra. Used with permission.