Don Herbert, who was otherwise known to generations of science curious kids as Mr. Wizard, died today at the age of 89 from multiple myeloma. Herbert began his ‘hey kids, you can do this at home’ science bonanza back in 1951 with a simple 30-minute weekly show that lasted until 1965. After a few years off the air, the show was briefly revived on Canadian television (proving yet again how often our fair neighbors to the North recognize a good thing that we’ve discarded), before returning to American airwaves via the thrice weekly Nickelodeon show ‘Mr. Wizard’s World’, which ran from 1983 – 1990, and opened the door to such like-minded scientainment chaps as Bill Nye and Beakman.
Herbert (along with Carl Sagan) carries much of the responsibility for my long love of science, and I can’t tell you how many of Herbert’s experiments I diligently tried to recreate (with sometimes less than ideal results). Like Fred Rogers, Jim Henson, or Bob Keeshan, Herbert encouraged kids to take part in the physical world around them and to engage that world with an inquisitive mind. I’ll always be thankful to him for that.
G’night, Mr. Wizard.