“Why is Mr. Freeze so healthy? Because he never catches a cold!”
Corny cryo jokes are part of Jerry Zimmerman’s (a.k.a. Mr. Freeze) trademark humor. They are sprinkled throughout his popular cryogenic demonstration (a branch of physics that deals with the production and effects of very low temperatures) along with lots of ice and fog, pops and explosions. Zimmerman’s signature “cryo-mallows”—marshmallows dipped in liquid nitrogen, frozen to a crunch—delight kids and adults alike.
As a kid, Zimmerman dreamed of becoming an inventor someday.
“I was always the great inventor, a Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla, and my invention would revolutionize the world,” says Zimmerman.
What Zimmerman didn’t know then was that one day he would become not only an inventor, but a Fermilab engineer with a public persona known to hundreds of schoolchildren as Mr. Freeze.
Zimmerman grew up in Plano, the youngest of four children. His parents, Leroy and Rosemarie, didn’t know what their inquisitive son would turn out to be. They only knew he constantly had his nose in the family’s Time Life books and all that the wind-up clocks in the house were taken apart and put back together again—sometimes with a piece or two left over. He ended up with a degree in physics from Northern Illinois University and an unusual job title.
Mr. Freeze knows the show has a magical quality, and he definitely wants the audience to have fun, but he also hopes kids will learn new things and think of science as a future career path.
He also enjoys challenging his own inventive spirit.
“I’m always trying to come up with the next new thing,” he says.
The next new thing may be a cryo-gun Zimmerman has been working on, though it won’t be used to freeze people a la Mr. Freeze, the comic book villain of Batman fame. Zimmerman’s gun would instead produce a dramatic pop followed by a column of thick fog.
When Zimmerman isn’t working as an engineer or giving a cryo demonstration, he can often be found roller skating at a rink near Batavia. He enjoys it almost as much as science and uses scientific principles to teach himself how to figure out fancy skate moves.
“It’s a case of understanding science and applying it to my pastime,” he says.
Whether he’s firing off his cryo-cannon or coasting around the roller rink, Zimmerman hopes to inspire kids to find and follow their passion in life. Of course if it turns out to be science, Mr. Freeze is cool with that.
Find him at mrfreezeman.webs.com.