President Obama to appear on Discovery's 'MythBusters' on Dec. 8

SCIENCE BUFF? President Obama appears with co-hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage in a "MythBusters" episode to air Dec. 8.
SCIENCE BUFF? President Obama appears with co-hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage in a "MythBusters" episode to air Dec. 8. (Chuck Kennedy/the White House)

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By Emily Yahr
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A few days after showing up on MTV, VH1 and BET for a town hall discussion, President Obama announced that he's headed to Discovery Channel -- he revealed Monday that he will appear in a walk-on role on an upcoming episode of "MythBusters," a reality series that sends adventure-seekers to discover the scientific truth behind famous urban legends.

Obama shared this news at Monday's White House Science Fair, introducing "MythBusters" hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, who were in attendance.

"I can announce today that I taped a special guest appearance for their show, although I didn't get to blow anything up. . . . I was a little frustrated about that," Obama said.

Airing on Dec. 8, Obama's episode, called "Archimedes Solar Ray," will focus on whether third-century B.C.-Greek scientist Archimedes was truly able to set fire to a Roman fleet using only rays of sun that reflected off a mirror.

Of course, this particular myth has already been tested by the show -- twice, in episodes in 2004 and 2006, titled "Ancient Death Ray" and "Archimedes Death Ray," respectively. Why a third time?

"Regarding the Archimedes myth, fans are constantly asking the MythBusters to retest it under different circumstances," a Discovery rep said in an e-mail, and the White House chose that myth for the crew to test because "it provided the greatest opportunity to get students involved in STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] in the most real way possible."

The show enlisted 500 students from Alameda, Calif., to help with the testing for the episode, the Discovery rep added.

According to a White House press release, Obama's appearance on the show will showcase "his personal commitment to inspire young people to excel in math and science."

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