February 15, 2014 12:40 pm
Why do we love MythBusters?
While I was listening to this week’s episode, where astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down in his office with MythBusters Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, it occurred to me that the reason we love the show is that we love it when we see science in action.
Science that burns through the fog of urban legend to lay bare reality’s truth.
Science that takes our guesses and our hunches and our beliefs and replaces them, often explosively, with data and facts that we can take back into our own lives.
Tomorrow’s show revels in the joy of experimentation. Neil says that experimentation is the way kids go at the world, that playing without rules is science. And he quotes Isaac Asimov who said, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, ‘hmm… that’s funny…’”
Adam and Jamie agree, saying it’s the unexpected outcomes that are their favorite part of the job. In tomorrow’s episode, the three of them get into a discussion about the importance and value of failure in experimentation, and how we should be teaching our kids that it’s okay to fail, as long as you learn something from it. Even comic co-host Chuck Nice gets in on the act, describing an experiment he did with his son.
The likelihood is that if you’re a StarTalk fan, you have a thirst for knowledge, for data, for understanding. You don’t just look at something and take it at face value. You want to know why something is the way it is. And if someone tries to tell you something that doesn’t make sense to you, you don’t just accept what they’re saying. (I know. I see your questions: hundreds of them every month, many questioning something Neil or somebody has said on the show.)
And that’s why we love MythBusters.
Because they don’t just tell us whether something is true or false.
They show us.
They go to great lengths to set up the conditions that allow them to prove or disprove the myth, and then they let us watch their experiments as they conduct them.
And we all get to see the results for ourselves.
So in that spirit, I’m not going to tell you that Part 1 of Neil’s interview with the MythBusters is informative, or enjoyable, or worthwhile. I’m going to leave that for you to decide that for yourself, this Sunday, Feb 16th at 7:00pm ET on our website, iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.
That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
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