Confirmed: “Mythbusters” lecture Tuesday
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 01:09
A team of scientists outfitted a 1960s Chevy Impala with military-grade explosives, attempting to send the old car airborne in an Arizona desert. No, this is not a Hollywood movie set; it is the “MythBusters” conducting one of numerous tests on myths and urban legends.
Miami Lecture Series is bringing two of the eclectic cast members to campus on Sept. 23. Kari Byron and Tory Belleci of “MythBusters” will kick off the Lecture Series at 8 p.m. in Hall Auditorium.
Faculty and students alike have long awaited their visit, according to assistant director of the Office of Student Activities JS Bragg.
“We have had requests to bring someone from the “MythBusters” since I’ve been here,” Bragg said. “With how strong our engineering school is here, that’s no surprise, but the background of the characters on the show is so diverse that we have arts students, just a ton of different students, and some faculty and staff, saying they would love for them to come.”
The show has been a Discovery Channel mainstay since 2003 and has received five consecutive Emmy nominations for “Outstanding Reality Program.”
Byron and Belleci have worked their way up from the show’s “build team” to establish themselves as regular cast members.
Byron’s unique path to the show’s forefront, Bragg said, immediately distinguished her as a perspective speaker.
“Kari was on our list from the beginning,” Bragg said. “We knew that her background, being an artist and getting on the show to do art, and then her role evolving into actually testing myths, that was a very interesting path.”
This, rather than the explosions and stunts that typically characterize the show, will be at the center of Byron and Belleci’s lecture. There will be no myths tested on-stage.
“This isn’t about the wow factor, it’s really about showing people in different fields the options that are present,” Bragg said.
Sparking critical thinking is the ultimate goal of every lecture, according to Lecture Series Chair Lana Kay Rosenberg. She said she hopes this approach will foster that.
“We want things to be entertaining, you hope in any kind of event that there might be some entertainment, but I hope that it is so much more than that,” Rosenberg said. “I am hoping with the ‘‘MythBusters’’ lecture, from a critical thinking standpoint, that people can take something away from it.”
The lecture is titled “How the ‘MythBusters’ Made Science Cool Again,” and seems to follow in the footsteps of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson as an event that will bring popular culture and science together, according to Bragg.
“Those were the speakers that students have shown the most interest in and the ‘MythBusters’ follow in that tradition,” Bragg said.
Byron and Belleci will be participating in numerous on-campus events on Sept. 23, including a seminar, a dinner with selected students and a press conference.
While myth-testing, according to Bragg, would be too dangerous to perform on-stage, students can expect to see unreleased clips from the show, bloopers and hear about the paths that Byron and Belleci took to get on the show and what, from a scientific perspective, goes into busting myths.
“On the TV show people watch for the explosions or the big wow moments, the car going 500 miles an hour, but there is a lot of science and a lot of reasoning that goes into that and we want people to see that side of the show that people don’t get to see as much,” Bragg said.
This is just what Rosenberg had in mind.
“I hope that this won’t just be fun,” Bragg said. “I’m hoping that I am going to learn something too.”
He said he thinks that Byron and Belleci will be a success.
“I think it will be one of the more popular, judging by the amount of people that have requested the MythBusters and I think the amount of thought and discussion will be up there too,” he said.
Organizers hope the event will find success by delving deeper into the science of the show.
“It’s about showing people the substance behind the flash,” Bragg said.
Students can share thoughts and questions during the lecture by using the hashtag #miamimyth.