How Mythbusters inspired me to make a live science show!

Mythbusters, we all know it, we’ve all seen it and after over 10 years on our TV screens we all have our favourite busted myth.

When I found out that Mythbusters were going on tour and doing a live show, I was so excited! I imagined a real live science show full of explosions and fire with scientific explanations about why and where and how.

Meeting Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters

Meeting Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters

They announced their tour dates, and sadly didn’t have New Zealand listed on their agenda, so I booked tickets for the closest event to me, Melbourne Australia.  Yes, that’s right, I flew to Australia just to watch Adam and Jamie blow stuff up.

Ironically, pretty much the week after I spent hundreds of dollars booking my tickets, Mythbusters announced they were going to add New Zealand to their tour, then Kari Bryon announced that she was leaving the Mythbusters show, and as one of the few TV females in a male dominated science show I couldn’t stop humming Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic.

At the show I sat next to some children who were equally as excited about it as I was, eager to learn something new and be entertained while educated.  We sat through the whole show which sadly didn’t contain any fire, or explosions (other than ones being played on video), or scientific theories and although we were entertained we were sadly not really educated.

After the show I asked some children what they learned from the show, and they said nothing, but they liked how the high speed camera made people look funny and how some guy got shot with paint-balls while wearing a suit of armour.

Audience member being shot with paint-balls while wearing a suit of armour at the Mythbusters behind the myths live show.

Audience member being shot with paint-balls while wearing a suit of armour at the Mythbusters behind the myths live show.

I was lucky enough to meet Adam and Jamie backstage and was reminded that they were not scientists, they were special effects guys, and they put on an amazing special effects show!  I however am a scientist, and one who is passionate about education and communication and being a positive female role model, surely I could do something about my frustrations!

I made a pact that night, that I was going to create a live show that was both entertaining and educational that would have fire and explosions and a female scientist lead.

Of course I have zero experience in making shows, performing shows, or knowledge of the health and safety rules of fire and explosions in buildings, but me being me, I said my idea out loud to a few people and before I knew it I had committed to a show!

After a lot of hard work from the Auckland Arts Festival and ThinkScience team and with the experience and creative genius of Gareth Baston, Nanogirls Live Science Show became a reality!

I wanted there to be fire, and explosions, because inspiring kids is so much easier with the flash bang stuff, but I also wanted there to be content, explanations and theories so that learning was part of the experience.  I wanted girls to be able to see a female role model in an industry that is usually stereotyped by men in lab coats, and be inspired that they too could one day be a fire starting (or any other kind of) scientist.

So here it is – the full one hour live science show with totally ridiculous experiments that made me laugh, jump and hide in fear!

If you are short on time and want to skip to the big bang, minute 51 is the one for you.

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One Comment

  1. A lot of what Mythbusters does is kitchen physics – stuff everybody SHOULD know, though it’s surprising how many people don’t. And it was always geared towards entertainment – a direction it’s veered into severely of late. Not a lot of science or education about some of the recent shows I’ve seen. I kind of miss the science shows I saw as a kid – Magnus Pyke from the UK and, of course, Ron Walton here in New Zealand. Your science show looks pretty awesome (and fun).

    Reply

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