Myth busting duo addresses crowd

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Chancellor Holden Thorp talks with Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from Discovery Channel’s MythBusters in the Dean Dome.

Anecdotes ranging from underwater automobile escapes to loud music shattering windows were all part of the behind-the-scenes insight shared Sunday by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the Discovery Channel show MythBusters.

“The most meaningful part of doing the show has been everything we learn from our experiments,” Hyneman said to the few thousand people in attendance at the Dean E. Smith Center.

“And if we get to use explosives along the way, then it’s even better.”

The event was part of the North Carolina Science Festival, the first-ever statewide science festival in the United States, according to UNC. It was coordinated by the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

Chancellor Holden Thorp led the 90-minute program, “An Afternoon with Adam and Jamie,” where the audience had the opportunity to ask the duo questions.

Savage and Hyneman took the opportunity to share their feelings on the show’s philosophy.

“Busting myths or experimenting is just like climbing a mountain — you don’t do it because the view is great, but because it is a challenge and you learn throughout the process,” Hyneman said.

Thorp said he couldn’t imagine anyone better than the MythBusters pair to get students and young people interested in science.

Savage and Hyneman encouraged the audience to ask why certain things happen and to experiment on their own.

“There are still things you can do and problems you can solve that no one has ever done before,” Savage said.

Savage and Hyneman prepared a video for the event that featured explosions from the show.

In addition, they prepared one addressing the most frequently asked question on the Discovery Channel website: “Can people light their own farts?”

They said they were the first to get the evidence in high speed photographs.

You can indeed light them up.

“I think there’s a sort of playfulness about what we do that makes learning fun,” Hyneman said.

After high school, Savage said he concentrated on the special effects industry and worked on movies such as “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” and “The Matrix.”

Hyneman said he earned a degree in Russian studies and produced effects for more than 800 commercials.

The pair said they have used their diverse range of life skills in the making of the show.

They said they are now in their eighth year and approaching their 200th hour of the show.

A good myth is one that perks up people’s interests and is fun to bust, Savage said.

The duo described MythBusters as an experimentation show that is a narrative of their curiosity.

“Our biggest thrill is to conceptualize how we are going to tackle the problem or myth,” Savage said.

“And sometimes almost nothing goes as planned, but the more we fail, the more questions we ask and the more we learn.”

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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