Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at 4:46 PM
Last month, Slate and Future Tense took a close look at the state of science education: How should we impart basic science literacy to students who won’t become scientists? What are the biggest myths about teaching science? Do we really need more scientists?
Somehow, we made it through the entire special issue without mentioning one of the most famous science educators of all: Mr. Wizard. Don Herbert, who hosted Mr. Wizard’s World on Nickelodeon in the ‘80s and Watch Mr. Wizard in the ‘50s and ‘60s, introduced generations of kids to basic scientific concepts and hands-on experiments you could perform in the kitchen. When Herbert died in 2007, his New York Times obituary quoted physicist Frank Wilczek as having once said, “What was really remarkable about Mr. Wizard was that he talked to the kids as if they were real people.”
As part of treating kids like “real people,” Herbert could be a little gruff. Below, see a new supercut that shows Herbert’s best crotchety moments—especially telling his child assistants when they mess up. The video is titled provocatively and not a little unfairly: “Mr. Wizard is a dick.” But the YouTube description gets it right: “Man of science. Scourge of nescience.” (Don’t know what nescience is? Mr. Wizard would tell you to look it up.)