After 14 seasons, 248 episodes, and 2,950 experiments, the dynamic duo of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman have decided to bring ‘Mythbusters’ to an end. The program has been one of cable’s most beloved and longest-running TV series and inspired a generation of kids to tune in every week to see which experiment the Mythbusters would try next. But what was it that compelled viewers to tune in every week?
You could make the argument that it was the catastrophic explosions that made the show—and there were plenty to choose from! Or maybe it was the high-speed collisions, sometimes involving two semi-trucks, which got you fired up. Or perhaps it was just the on-screen chemistry of the two hosts that made us tune in week after week. USNews and we here at DIDI, however, believe that it was something fundamentally different from all those examples—curiosity.
Curiosity is a powerful, undervalued, and uniquely human quality that drives discovery. Curiosity leads us to explore, create, and innovate. The Mythbusters’ experiments definitely fascinated and entertained viewers, but more importantly, they engaged our curiosity. The experiments themselves embodied curiosity in action. And that curiosity has set many young people on their path to discovery and creativity.
We often point to technical skills and STEM education programs as solutions for developing the next generation of American innovators and solving the world’s problems that lie ahead of us. But it took a lot more than just skills to make the great innovators and inventors of the past who they are today. Sometimes, all it takes is simple curiosity to motivate a future Albert Einstein to begin his or her calculations!
And that’s what Mythbusters became for many millennials—that initial spark of curiosity (and maybe a healthy dose of insanity!) to get the ball rolling. Some of the greatest experiments that Adam and Jamie conducted were from fan suggestions. And even when Adam and Jamie completed their experiments, fans were so loyal and dedicated to the science that the Mythbusters Revisited episodes soon became a staple for every season. What other TV show can honestly say that they love getting both fan and hate mail?
We will greatly miss the opportunity to tune in each week to watch new episodes of “Mythbusters” and see what amazing experiment the group would take on next. For many young students, “Mythbusters” has been on the air for as long as they can remember. The show has served as an influential force to help inspire their intellectual curiosity, prompting many to become engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and all-around smart people.
It is now our responsibility to continue the show’s legacy by instilling in our readers, students, and young people in general a mindset that inspires them to be the next generation of innovators and creators, effecting real change for the world they will inherit. Doesn’t that make you curious for what the future holds?
Photo credit: Discovery Channel