Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rest in Peace, Mr. Wizard

I wasn’t planning on posting until later today, but I just read about this via the always informative

“Don Herbert, who explained the wonderful world of science to millions of young baby boomers on television in the 1950s and '60s as "Mr. Wizard" and did the same for another generation of youngsters on the Nickelodeon cable TV channel in the 1980s, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Herbert died at his home in Bell Canyon after a long battle with multiple myeloma, said Tom Nikosey, Herbert's son-in-law.”

Though I did not grow up watching most of Mr. Wizard’s series, there are three quick anecdotes I have on Herbert and his delightful program:

1- On New Year’s Eve 1999 I vowed to stay up for over 24 hours and pay attention to how different countries and cultures around the world decided to bring in the new “millennium”. (Yeah, I know I was technically off by a year.) I don’t remember what the experiments were about, but I do recall trying to figure out how to covert metric measurements to imperial at about five in the morning.

2- A few years ago I spent an entire Saturday afternoon mesmerized watching a Mr. Wizard marathon on Noggin. It was the 1950s version of the program and it was unbelievable how Herbert was able to communicate about science in a simple yet thought-provoking manner.

3- Lastly, as an avid viewer of Bill Nye: The Science Guy and Beakman’s World I owe an immense debt of gratitude to Herbert and his programs for showing that science can be fun and educational simultaneously.

Thank you Don Herbert. You will surely be missed.

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