G. Wiz at Work and Play:
Spells, Wildfires, Snowflakes
and Honeybees

35th Annual Faraday Lecture

For over 30 years, the Faraday Lecture has presented by prominent educators and scientists throughout the nation. Its astonishing demonstrations in chemistry and physics have both amazed and encouraged the middle and high school students to whom it is focused. This event is free and open to schools and the public!

G. Wiz at Work and Play:  Spells, Wildfires, Snowflakes, and Honeybees

This year we welcome, Garon C. Smith, Emeritus Professor, from the University of Montana!

Join Professor Garon Smith, a.k.a. Garon the Wizard or G. Wiz, as he shares with you the magic of chemistry and some fascinating applications. Reciting humorous incantations, he will perform for your enjoyment dramatic chemical demonstrations including: the Ink Spell, The Freezing Spell, the Cauldron of Fire, Mom’s Magic Pitcher, the Chemical Calculator, Liquid Nitrogen Cheetos, the Ping-Pong Ball Reaction, the Thermite Reaction, and the Benzoyl Peroxide Volcano.


The chemistry behind each spell will be thoroughly explained before segueing into its relevance to aspects of his research – the chemistry of forest fires, how to read the history of a snowflake from its pattern, and how honey bees can be trained to find hidden explosives or landmines.


Dr. Smith has been performing as G. Wiz for more than forty years. In 2014 and 2016 he spent a total of nine months touring New Zealand (Middle Earth). There, as a visiting faculty member at the University of Otago, he delivered 180 shows throughout both the North and South Islands. He was recognized in 2008 as Montana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement awarded him the 2016 William E. Bennet Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science.


This will be his third appearance as the Faraday Lecturer, his earlier stints coming in 2011 and 2015.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall



How to Attend the Lecture

Teachers: Bring Your Class

Reservations Required

The Lecture is primarily for middle school and high school students (grades 7-12). There will be two performances.


Tuesday (November 29) 11:00 AM - 12:40 PM

Wednesday (November 30) 10:15 AM - 12:00 PM

Open to the Public

No Reservations Needed

The Tuesday evening lecture is free and open to the public.


Tuesday, November 29

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Register to Attend

We are no longer taking school reservations for the daytime Lectures.
The Tuesday evening Lecture is still open to the public.

About Michael Faraday

The namesake for the Faraday Lecture is Michael Faraday. Michael Faraday was a British scientist who lived in the early to mid-1800’s. Although he had little formal education Mr. Faraday was one of the most influential scientists in history. Even today he is recognized as a top scientist.


As a physicist he discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction and diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. As a chemist he discovered benzene and an early form of the Bunsen burner as well as several other accomplishments.


During the time of Faraday there was very little organized education for young people. In 1825 Faraday started Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Faraday and other prominent people gave lectures on different scientific topics. These lectures continue to this day.

Faraday Lecture Sponsors

The Faraday Lecture is sponsored by the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP) and the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (SSP). Funding for the Faraday Lecture comes from Pittcon, a yearly conference and exposition serving the broad field of laboratory science.


The SACP/SSP is dedicated to furthering science education in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.


Visit ChemistryOutreach.org for more information and to view other educational programs, teacher and student awards, and a wide variety of grant programs.