Anyone who has ever watched the TV show "MythBusters" knows blowing things up in the name of science is all part of the fun, as the show's two stars take an irreverent approach to testing scientific hypotheses. Now for the first time ever, kids can get their own hands-on chance to bust some myths.
On March 15, a brand-new MythBusters exhibit will premiere at the Museum of Science and Industry. And, like the show it's based on, the exhibit will combine the serious side of science with the part that's just a little bit silly and fun.
"This is very much in the spirit of the show, which is alternately very serious and goofy and very scientifically accurate and whimsical, all at the same time," says Chris Wilson, MSI's director of exhibit project management and maintenance. "They're very reverent about the results, but very irreverent about how they get there."
The exhibit will include a Blueprint Room, similar to the one on the MythBusters' set. The room will be filled with gadgets, props, videos and the blueprints used by the show's stars, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage.
The exhibit's Workshop is where visitors can turn into investigators and use real science to tests myths such as: Will you get less wet if you run instead of walk in the rain? Is it true that an airplane can't take off if it's on a conveyor belt running in the opposite direction? Is a house made of bricks less likely to be blown down by the wind than one made of sticks?
"My personal favorite is the airplane on the conveyor belt myth. We've made it highly interactive," Wilson says. Visitors may be surprised to learn from this experiment that the wheels of an airplane don't have anything to do with its forward motion-instead it's pulled forward by its propeller.
"Even though they busted this myth on the air, it's still hotly contested. You can really experiment with all of these variables (in the exhibit) and set up any scenario you want," Wilson says.
Ongoing demonstrations and scientific facilitators throughout the exhibit will keep the learning up-close and entertaining, an easy way to throw a little education into a fun outing.
"MythBusters is really a great example of the scientific
process," Wilson explains. "They form hypotheses, set up
experiments, conduct experiments, iterate results if necessary and
publish the results as their show. We get to watch that whole
"It's a great fit for science museums and for MSI. They're an inspiration."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.