Quebec Association of Science Teachers

Presents the 1999 Raymond Gervais Award
for exceptional contribution to science education
to Ariel Fenster

Ariel Fenster was born in 1943 in Bergerac, France. He holds a Licence ès Sciences (B.Sc.) and a Diplome d’Études Approfondies (M. Sc.) from the University of Paris and a Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal.

In his career of more than 25 years, Ariel Fenster has developed a multifaceted approach to the teaching of chemistry. In it, theoretical principles are introduced together with their applications to modern life. Slides, chemical demonstrations, and even magic accompany his highly visual lectures so as to convey both the relevance and the excitement of chemistry.

In addition to his teaching accomplishments Ariel Fenster is also well known for his efforts to popularize chemistry and science. He has developed over 50 different lectures on a variety of relevant topics. Titles range from "The ABC's of Vitamins" to "Science & Art - Conservation and Deception" and "Cheers: The Chemistry of Wine." This has led to close to 400 presentations, both in English and in French, to a variety of groups across Canada, the US and overseas.

Ariel Fenster has appeared close to 200 times on TV and radio to discuss health and technology topics and has developed numerous science segments for children's television. In addition he has to his credit over 20 publications on chemical research and chemical education.

The program, "Chemistry for the Public", which he developed together of with D. Harpp (McGill University) and J. Schwarcz (Vanier College), is internationally known. One of its facets "The Magic of Chemistry" stage show has been presented well over 200 times to a total of about 50,000 people across Canada and the US. Another aspect, the "Chemistry for the Public" lectures have been offered as a series at McGill University since 1980.

In the summer of 1995 the "Chemistry for the Public'' group developed a series of live chemistry shows for the scientific exhibition, "La Chimie en Fête", at the Old Port in Montreal. The exhibition had a total attendance of over 370,000, which makes it the biggest event of this kind ever.

Ariel Fenster has already been honoured with numerous awards. Among the most recent:

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Chemical Education, College Chemistry Canada
(Inaugural Award), 1990

McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science, The Royal Society of Canada,
(Inaugural Award), 1992

Beppo Award for the Popularization of Science, "Conseil du développement du loisir scientifique du Québec", 1993

Ariel Fenster is professor of chemistry at Vanier College and McGill University

ALSO: Read an article on Ariel Fenster from the Montreal Gazette.