The co-hosts of MythBusters told University of North Texas students that they still get scared after 10 years of filming the experiments for the show.
“We’re terrified a lot on the show,” said Jamie Hyneman. “We’re aware of that. We need that.”
Hyneman and Adam Savage shared with several thousand students Monday night in the UNT Coliseum what they’ve learned from their show MythBusters, which is on the Discovery Channel.
They have tested the validity of more than 700 myths, from whether people can fly a lead balloon to how to escape from a sinking car.
Savage talked about escaping from the sinking car, which had previously been owned by a smoker, and how the water turned brown as it began to sink.
“Both of us were spooked by the experience,” he said.
Scientific integrity is key for Savage and Hyneman when it comes to the myths they put to the test, they told students.
The pair pick myths that are interesting, fun, unexpected and challenging, Hyneman said.
Their production crew has found that if the co-hosts are having a good time and it involves some interesting things, it then makes for good TV, he said.
Hyneman said the show isn’t about two guys blowing things up but there is a lot of interesting engineering and careful thought that goes into the experiments.
But both agreed water heaters are their favorite explosions.
They showed a video of their experiments at the end and there was extensive footage of explosions.
Hyneman and Savage were invited to speak at UNT as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series. Previous speakers have been Bill Nye, John Legend, former President George W. Bush and former Mexico President Vicente Fox.
They talked about the fact that they’ve only had minor injuries — a few stitches and broken fingers.
When they outline a story, they try to address any safety concerns the show’s insurance company might have, Savage said.
Hyneman said when the insurance company says no to an experiment, they try to find a way around it.
The pair talked about their embarrassing moments, from lighting flatulence on fire to urinating on an electric fence. And they told students they don’t mind being wrong.
“Science is not just for scientists,” Hyneman said. “It’s for anyone who has a question.”
Savage said their show is about experimentation not educating.
They never know what is going to happen, they said.
“The only thing different between science and screwing around is if you write it down,” Savage said.
They plan to start production on another similar show next year.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .