Sioux Falls teen, innovator set to host Mythbusters Jr.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Sioux Falls teenager is using her inventing and innovating skills to host a spin-off series of Mythbusters with original host Adam Savage and five other resident “geniuses.”
Allie Weber, 13, spent her summer in San Rafael, California filming for the premier of Mythbusters Jr. The eighth-grader is an established inventor who’s won awards and has been recognized for her designs such as a spine-saving binder strap and a frostbite sensor gloves.
Her appearance on the show will mean she’s one of South Dakota’s few national celebrities. While she takes her pending fame in stride, she’s focused on showing what children can accomplish and inspiring a new generation of young minds.
“Kids aren’t the future,” Weber said to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader . “We’re here now, and we’re not going to change the world someday — we already are. Being able to see and represent the fact that kids can do anything, that we can do stuff today and not just in the future, is really important for kids to understand.”
The show will include “explosives and duct tape and farts and bugs and a bunch of random stuff thrown together, and it’s just going to be great,” Weber said.
Weber spent the summer filming in San Rafael while her family flew back and forth between there and Sioux Falls. She and her family flew down to California the day after school ended in June, and she returned a week after school started back up in September. Each episode was filmed within a week.
The experience was unique by any standards, but Weber prizes being able to learn the technical side of television and to work well with others.
She worked with five other children between 12 and 15 years old, each with their own specialty in robotics, mechanics, computer science or design. Each week, the six would divide into two groups to handle separate projects, aided by Savage.
For Savage, this is an opportunity to make a significant impact on the show’s intended audience.
“It’s incumbent on us as people and members of society to pass on what we know, not hoard our knowledge of the world,” Savage said. “Mythbusters Jr. is about that. It’s also about celebrating the incredible, hungry young minds that are our future.”
Weber has been inventing since she was young and created her first robot when she was 6 years old. She’s driven to make her ideas come to life, but having a show like Mythbusters helps communicate the work put in behind the scientific process as well as the determination behind it.
“I feel like when people see the finished products of innovation or scientific accomplishments, they don’t see the process behind it and all the trial and error that went into it,” Weber said. “When they try to do something like that themselves they get discouraged easily. But that isn’t the case, and not everything is black and white — you really need to struggle through those problems to come up with an accomplishment.”
Weber’s favorite episode from the original Mythbusters was testing the “Indiana Jones” myths. While Savage said he enjoyed most myths, his favorites included ones involving duct tape.
“The success of Mythbusters, the key, is telling and communicating an honest narrative — the screw ups on screen and how science is a messy process as well as a process of rigor,” Savage said.
The show’s roots are not in professional science, but in a person’s passion to “get to the truth of something,” Savage said. Since he doesn’t have formal training, he never considered himself a scientist until later in the show.
While Weber has a passion for inventing, she loves film and would like to be a film maker or screen writer.
“I used to want to be an astronaut when I was younger, but then I started to get a fear of dying alone in space, so I decided that wasn’t the ideal career for me,” she said.
Soon, she could be considered one of South Dakota’s celebrities.
“It still feels weird to me because the show hasn’t aired yet,” Weber said. “Once the show actually comes out it’ll be more exciting.”
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com