WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said Monday he is appearing on “Mythbusters,” a television series that uses science to separate fact from fiction.
Obama’s appearance on the popular Discovery Channel show is part of a White House effort to highlight the importance of science, math and engineering as experts warn that low interest in these subjects among U.S. students could hurt the economy.
It is one of several non-traditional appearances by the president, who joined an MTV “town hall” meeting last week and was interviewed on the daytime talk show “The View” in July.
Questions tackled this year on “Mythbusters” include “What’s worse, having an empty beer bottle smashed over your head or a full one?” and “Can a sniffer dog be thrown off the scent using household items?”
The Obama episode, to air on December 8, reprises an earlier debunking of the 2,000-year-old story that Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes set fire to an invading Roman fleet using a system of mirrors to focus the sun’s rays.
“I can announce today that I taped a special guest appearance for their show, although I didn’t get to blow anything up,” Obama said at a White House science fair event. “I was a little frustrated with that.”
The event kicked off a week-long fair on the National Mall in Washington.
Obama pointed to studies showing that U.S. students rank 25th in the world in scores on math, science and engineering as he singled out some of the winners of a range of science and math competitions.
The outstanding projects by high school students included a new kind of motorized chair, a carbon-fiber solar-powered vehicle and a study showing that gel rubber in helmets is a far better shock absorber than foam.
“We welcome championship sports teams to the White House to celebrate their victories ... I thought we ought to do the same thing for the winners of science fairs and robotic contests and math competitions,” Obama said.
“You know, when you win first place at a science fair, nobody’s rushing the field or dumping Gatorade over your head.”
Writing by Caren Bohan and Maggie Fox; Editing by John O'Callaghan