This week the informal science education community lost a dear friend and colleague. Alan J. Friedman passed away on May 4th. I had heard about his illness only a few days earlier. He had learned of it only two weeks before that. He and his wife Mickey were left with little time to prepare; and the informal science education community around the world, too, had little time to begin thinking about the unthinkable—a science world without Alan.
Those who knew Alan are left wondering, “Who will be our wise man? Who will be our champion? Who will say what needs to be said with charm and eloquence? Who will fight the fight that needs fighting?” Who will smile the way Alan smiled? Who will exude the cheery disposition we all need from time to time? And who will kiss the ladies on both cheeks?”
We are left with an eerie silence, an enormous hole in our informal science world. Alan had so many really good ideas that grew into really great projects that generated fabulous results. He was creative, smart, humble, and oh so generous with his time—to everyone who approached him; he was a truly nice guy—a real, honest-to-goodness mensch.