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Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Christmas Lecture Collection

Identifier: 2012-047

Scope and Content

The Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Christmas Lecture Collection contains an assortment of materials concerning the “Once Upon a Christmas Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri” and “Once Upon a Springtime Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri” lecture series from 1970 to 2011. Included in the collection are documents explaining the purpose and context of the Christmas lectures delivered by Shakhashiri at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 33 DVD recordings of individual lectures from 1970 to 2011, and programs for individual lectures in the series.


  • Creation: 1989-2012


Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public. However, the disks containing the lectures for 1991, 1992, and 1998-2001 are corrupted or damaged, and archives staff have not been able to retrieve viewable video files from these DVDs. Those six lectures are currently inaccessible to researchers.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to some materials in the Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Christmas Lecture Collection. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri is a Lebanese chemistry educator. Born in 1939, Shakhashiri emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1957. He received his bachelor's degree (1960) from Boston University, before going on to earn his Master of Science (1964) and Ph. D. (1968) degrees in the field of Chemistry at the University of Maryland. After accepting a postdoctoral position from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he taught at the University of Illinois for two years as a junior faculty member. In 1970, Shakhashiri joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he served as the William T. Evjue Distinguished Chair for the Wisconsin Idea until his retirement in 2021.

A prolific lecturer and educator in the field of chemistry, Shakhashiri has been a stalwart advocate of celebrating science education for all ages. He presently serves as the director of the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an organization focused on promoting and encouraging science literacy through the production of lecture series such as the "Once Upon a Christmas Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri" Christmas broadcast. Shakhashiri has also published several books dedicated to scientific engagement and education.

Shakhashiri has been an active member of the National Science Foundation since joining the society in 1962 and served as its assistant director for Science and Engineering Education from 1984 to 1990. He also served as president of the American Chemical Society in 2012 after being elected President-Elect in 2011. While president of the American Chemical Society, he enacted a commission dedicated to promoting graduate level education in chemical sciences. Shakahashiri has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education (1986) from the American Chemical Society. Sources

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Christmas Lecture Collection, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger Box)

Language of Materials



A collection of recordings and materials of and pertaining to the “Once Upon a Christmas Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri” lecture series.

Acquisition Information

The Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Christmas Lecture Collection was donated to the Science History Institute by Bassam Z. Shakhashiri in November 2012.

Digitized Materials

Selected lectures from this collection have been made available in our Digital Collections:

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri Christmas Lecture Collection
Finding aid created and encoded into EAD by Sean Cureton.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 11/30/2023: Digitized Materials note added.

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19106 United States
215.873.5265 (Fax)