I’m not usually one to get sappy or emotional over the ending of a TV series (ok, maybe The West Wing a long time ago) but the final episode of MythBusters was tonight and it’s truly the end of a great era. It started more “water cooler” conversations than can be counted. It’s put so many words and terms into public view. I mean, really, who would know what ballistics gel or ANFO is if not for seeing it on MythBusters.
It’s also given us catch phrases that stuck with us. Who could ever forget “Jamie wants big boom,” “Am I missing an eyebrow?” or “When in doubt, C4!” Of course, my favorites are still “I reject your reality and substitute my own,” “Failure is always an option,” and “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing!”As much fun as it it to see the guys (sometimes gratuitously) blow things up, there was a more important role played by MythBusters over the past 13 years. Adam and Jamie showed us that the scientific method can be fun and rewarding. They also showed that almost any problem can be worked out and resolved using science, engineering and patience.
In particular, they taught the younger generation (or two) that this might be something they want to do for a living. I guarantee that our country and many others around the world have MANY more scientists and engineers because of MythBusters and I’m sure there are so many more students at every level studying science, technology, engineering or math (aka STEM) right now because Adam and Jamie taught them it’s fun, exciting and cool.
Think about that… A TV show that was meant to entertain, educate and have fun with common myths and misperceptions, starring two guys that none of us had heard of 13 years ago, managed to play a real part in shaping the future of the science and engineering communities. Who would have thought that was possible? Well, OK, I know who thought that… every single one of us who ran into work or school on 24 Jan 2003 and said “OMG, you have to see this cool new show that was on Discovery Channel last night!!!”