Q&A with Mythbuster's Jamie Hyneman

After so many years what do you think the show’s legacy will be? Certainly that it has encouraged so many young people to become interested in the sciences and engineering. Also it presents a certain mind-set of enquiry and critical thinking about the world in general. Which of all the episodes have you been most […]

After so many years what do you think the show’s legacy will be?

Certainly that it has encouraged so many young people to become interested in the sciences and engineering. Also it presents a certain mind-set of enquiry and critical thinking about the world in general.

Which of all the episodes have you been most surprised by in terms of myths debunked?

Well, it’s really hard to say because we’ve done so many stories. In this last season we were doing a story about lifting a car with a vacuum cleaner, using suction to lift the car and it was really pretty astonishing to see the results. We also were able to collapse an oil tanker car, which has walls, about 12 millimetres thick. Simply by heating it up with steam and then letting it cool, this massive thing just crumpled like like a soda can. It was amazing to watch.

Was there any moment in the final season that you considered maybe the most dangerous?

In one case in particular we had set off an explosion to flatten a car using explosives and we actually destroyed three of the rental vehicles that we had, even though they were sitting behind a mountain. Some of the shrapnel coming off the explosion made it to the cars and blew out wind shields and sent the shrapnel right through the car.

How do you decide on which myths you de-bunk within the show?

We use a number of criteria to decide to do an episode. It has to be something that we can physically test. We also look for things that could potentially have unexpected results. We like things that are funny because people like that and some of this is intended to present material that is easier to internalise. In general we also look for anything we can simply do good science with.

artslife@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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