RIP: Mr. Wizard 1917 – 2007

by Christopher Paul on June 12, 2007

Sad news everyone.

Our beloved Mr. Wizard, the man who first got me excited about science and technology with his TV show: “Mr. Wizard’s World” on Nickelodeon, died of bone cancer. He was 89. 😥

Mr. Wizard fascinated me with all types of experiments. I remember many of them very well and still quote the lessons I learned on that show. I remember how he burned a sugar compound into pure carbon and was nearly dumbfounded when he talked about sound waves and the Doppler Effect. He gave me my first chemistry lesson by filling a glass with ice water – all the way to the top – and proved that as the ice melted, the water would never flow over the ridge of the glass because the ice melted and the water evaporated at the same rate. At seven or eight years old, I got it the concept but still found it hard to believe; but when I did take a chemistry class, the math added up. My favorite experiment was when he used dry ice to cool things so much so they became brittle; he then used a hammer (after putting on the safety goggles) to smash things like a tennis ball or shrink balloons to nearly nothing – and then smashing them!

I know others have followed in Mr. Wizard’s footsteps but, from what I can see, they can’t reproduce the quiet, calming, demeanor Don Herbert had; while those inspired by him will live to carry his legacy to a new generation of scientists, there will always be a special place for Mr. Wizard.

He will be missed.

Previous post:

Next post: