Last week I took my wife and children into the city for a show at the Beacon Theater. No, it wasn’t one of the Allman Brothers legendary New York spring concerts, although that would have been fun. Even if I would have had a hard time explaining to my kids about why the song was named Jessica, or an even harder time explaining what the strange smoke smell was. Instead, we went to see a live production of Mythbusters!
For the eighteen of you that don’t have cable television, Myhtbusters is a show that has aired on the Discovery channel since 2003. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, two science-loving fellows that spent years working in the special effects field, host it. To describe it in simple terms, they blow stuff up and then explain how it happened using science.
The show quickly sold out and the event was packed with three types of people. People who have taken AP Physics, people who are currently taking AP Physics, and children who some day will be taking AP Physics. Even my wife who was once the president of the National Honor Society said that the crowd seemed nerdy, like a Star Trek convention without the cool costumes. Although I did see a lot of really nifty t-shirts that featured the elements of the periodic table and even one with Albert Einstein wearing a Che Guevara style beret.
The onstage antics got the crowd going wild, with applied demonstrations of some of the laws of physics, and then the audience really went nuts as they flashed the formula F=MA on the Jumbotron. I proudly looked down at my boys who were completely absorbed by the show. The glow on their faces as people fist pumped and chanted “SCIENCE” made me realize that this generation’s idea of cool is all about being smart. Sure the concept of cool as I knew it growing up still exists, as it is cool to be the captain of the football team, but there are even cooler plateaus these days.
Its cool to create an App for the iPad, its even cooler to take a semester off to work at a lab that makes artificial robotic limbs, and the pinnacle of today’s super cool; when your tech company goes public and you make the Forbes list!
It’s funny that going into the summer of 2012, I hear parents talk about computer camp and science experiences with the same pride and gusto that other parents speak of the “A” Travel team. I guess it’s only a matter of time before we start putting people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg on trading cards! As cool as all that is, I guess that the age-old quandary for any teenage science geek is still the same; convincing teenage girls that being a nerd is really cool.