June 12, 2007

Mr. Wizard, Don Herbert, Dead at age 89

The man who taught millions of young Americans about science through fun experiments has died.

Don Herbert, who as television's "Mr. Wizard" introduced generations of young viewers to the joys of science, died Tuesday. He was 89. Herbert, who had bone cancer, died at his suburban Bell Canyon home, said his son-in-law, Tom Nikosey.

"He really taught kids how to use the thinking skills of a scientist," said former colleague Steve Jacobs. He worked with Herbert on a 1980s show that echoed the original 1950s "Watch Mr. Wizard" series, which became a fond baby boomer memory.

In "Watch Mr. Wizard," which was produced from 1951 to 1964 and received a Peabody Award in 1954, Herbert turned TV into an entertaining classroom. On a simple, workshop-like set, he demonstrated experiments using household items.

"He modeled how to predict and measure and analyze. ... The show today might seem slow but it was in-depth and forced you to think along," Jacobs said. "You were learning about the forces of nature."

Herbert encouraged children to duplicate experiments at home, said Jacobs, who recounted serving as a behind-the-scenes "science sidekick" to Herbert on the '80s "Mr. Wizard's World" that aired on the Nickelodeon channel.

I watched Mr. Wizard on Nick, and he was always my favorite. You can keep your Bill Nye and Beekman. Mr. Wizard was the man.  Rest in Peace, Science man.

Posted by caltechgirl at June 12, 2007 09:19 PM | TrackBack

Sad news. And, I agree with you. Mr. Wizard was far superior to those other guys. For one thing, he wasn't a freak. For another, he didn't talk down to you.

I loved Mr. Wizard.

Posted by: Phoenix at June 13, 2007 08:16 AM

My nephew sent that to me this morning... but I couldn't post. Long story.

Posted by: vw bug at June 13, 2007 12:59 PM