The U.S. House of Representatives honored Don Herbert, better known as "Mr. Wizard," in a resolution passed on the House floor Monday.
Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., co-sponsored the resolution to honor Herbert, who died of cancer at the age of 89 last week.
From 1951 to 1964, Herbert made science fun for baby boomers by demonstrating simple experiments, such as using a bucket and water to demonstrate centripetal force, on television. He did the same for a new generation in the 1980s on cable television's Nickelodeon channel.
"Everyone has heard about him in some way, even though not everyone has been able to watch him," Ehlers said. "He's the guy who invented this business of young folks watching science on TV in a very entertaining way.
"He had a lot of airtime and a lot of time to reach the kids," Ehlers said.
Herbert used simple combustible materials that taught kids about the elements of science. He illustrated these experiments to the TV audience through an in-studio guest — a boy or girl — who assisted with the experiments.
His "Mr. Wizard" show laid the groundwork for the educational television genre that later spawned cable channels devoted to science, like the Discovery Channel. The show also created Mr. Wizard Science Clubs nationwide. In 1955, there were almost 5,000 clubs with more than 100,000 members.
"As a child, we didn't have TV, but I used to read this science magazine my sister gave me that she'd get from her high school science class," Ehlers said. When he was a youngster, Ehlers performed his own home experiments from the magazine in his kitchen. He said he was happy to co-sponsor Herbert's official recognition.
"He was a good guy and did a good job," Ehlers said.