Don Herbert, known and beloved as Mr. Wizard from the popular Nickelodeon television show Mr. Wizard's World, passed away yesterday morning. He was one month shy of his 90th birthday.
Mr. Wizard was born in the magical land in Wisconsin in 1917. His college studies of science and English were interrupted by World War II, where he served as a pilot. Upon returning from the ravages of war, Mr. Wizard realized that he could utilize the new medium of television to teach kids science.
His first show, which most of our parents remember, Watch Mr. Wizard premiered on NBC in 1951. However, for our generation, he brought his special brand of magic and knowledge into our hearts with his show Mr. Wizard's World, which aired on Nickelodeon from 1983 to 1990.
Mr. Wizard was famous for debunking seemingly impossible science experiments which could then be recreated at home. Who among us, I ask, did not use all of their mother's baking soda trying to power a crappy little aluminum foil boat around in the bathtub.
As jaded adults, we often forget about the enjoyment that can come from even the most simple understanding of the world around us. Mr. Wizard helped many of us, as children, cultivate a love of science, curiosity and learning, the subtle glory of which we often forget in the hustle and bustle of our busy adult lives.
In memoriam, take a moment to think about why you love the challenge of trying to figure out mathematically how many Skittles can fit in a tractor trailer and say a little prayer.
You'll be missed, Mr. Wizard.