Goodbye, Mr. Wizard
The TV star who turned generations of kids, from baby boomers to their children, onto science died on Tuesday. Don Herbert, better known as Mr. Wizard, died of bone cancer at age 89. His show illustrated how things found around the house could be used in experiments and he encouraged kids to try science out at home.
In my life, Dr. Wizard came second only to George "Mr." Witman, my 9th-grade earth science teacher, in terms of making science more fun and less intimidating. Although I switched out of my chemistry major freshman year, I still think it's about as much fun as you can have wearing a lab coat. (Now I work in technology, which is even more fun in some ways than basic science.) So: thanks, Don. Your show kept whole generations of smart kids off the streets, and gave them somewhere to focus their prodigious mental powers other than on video games.