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MythBusters’ co-hosts to take the stage at Wharton Center

March 15, 2012

Staff writers Isabella Shaya and Alex McClung test to see how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Photo by Kate Jacobson | The State News

Inquisitive audience members will have the chance to help debunk myths with two of TV’s most well-known scientific sleuths this weekend.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, co-hosts of the Discovery Channel series “MythBusters,” a program in which science and experimentation are used to prove or disprove urban myths, will bring their live show, “MythBusters: Behind the Myths” to Wharton Center and allow fans to join them as investigators for a day.

The show will take place at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday in Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall.

The show’s viewers will be taken behind the scenes to watch and partake in numerous onstage experiments.

“It is really getting the audience involved on a different level, because they’re going to be debunking some of those urban myths and talking to the audience about what they think,” Wharton Center’s Public Relations Manager Bob Hoffman said.

Hoffman said this type of audience-involved show makes it different than many of the other productions the venue has featured.

“Anytime you can participate in an event, it’s really cool,” he said. “It breaks down that extra fourth wall. I really think that’s something that’s really neat.”

Aaron Balogh, who watches “MythBusters” the TV show whenever he notices it’s on, said he would consider seeing the live performance when it comes to East Lansing because of the opportunity to participate in some of Hyneman and Savage’s stunts.

“I think it’d be cool to see that kind of thing firsthand and experience that,” the zoology and microbiology senior said.

Balogh said what he likes most about the TV show is that although it is meant to be entertaining, it still focuses on factual science and usually is a learning experience.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s not like junk science or anything — a lot of it’s pretty legitimate. You get to learn things about science, and that’s pretty cool.”

Interdisciplinary studies in social science and health studies and psychology senior Elizabeth Goudie, who watches “MythBusters” on TV if she comes across it while flipping through channels, said she enjoys the show because it simplifies scientific experiments and concepts and makes them easier to understand.

“I think they kind of take everyday concepts that people hear about in everyday life, and they make nerdy things accessible to people,” she said.

But when compared to other science-themed shows, Balogh said “MythBusters” is much more action packed and exciting, and he expects the live show would be similar.

Some of Balogh’s favorite episodes include one in which Savage and Hyneman attempt to raise a sunken ship using pingpong balls and another where the pair tried to set a wooden ship on fire using mirrors and light from the sun.

“There’s way more explosions and that sort of excitement as opposed to other shows that are a bit more dry,” he said.

Balogh said the simplicity and entertainment factor of the TV program should make it, as well as the live stage show, appealing to a variety of people — not just students interested in science.

“I think it’d be a good experience for a lot of people, even people who really don’t like science or physics or that kind of thing,” he said. “It’s a performance — it’s not just a couple of guys in the lab doing experiments. It’s exciting and engaging.”

Hoffman said the show should attract viewers of all ages, and older audience members should expect to feel as if they are reliving their youth while watching.

“They’re fun, (and) they’re catchy, even though it kind of makes you feel like you’re a kid again,” he said. “(They make you think), ‘Can we explode this, and can we do this.’”

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