Obama talks of 'MythBusters' - plus math, science, and tamales

President Obama has filmed a cameo on the TV show 'Mythbusters,' and when it airs Dec. 8 we'll all know if he can pronounce Archimedes. Meanwhile, students brought science projects galore to the White House on Monday.

Susan Walsh/AP
President Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 18, where he hosted the White House Science Fair to showcase the winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions.

President Obama hosted math and science fair winners at the White House Monday, and here’s the breaking news from the event: Mr. Obama did not get to blow anything up when he filmed a guest appearance on “MythBusters.”

“I was a little frustrated with that,” he said of his lack of explosion-initiation.

Obama will appear on the Dec. 8 episode of the popular Discovery Channel show, if you haven’t heard. "MythBusters" examines common legends, myths, or film stunts, and then rigs up actual experiments to see if they’re true. The president will introduce a bit that looks at whether ancient Greek scientist Archimedes really could have set fire to an invading Roman fleet using only mirrors and the reflected rays of the sun.

Perhaps there are Democrats who wish they could set fire to the fleet of newly elected Republican House members they'll be seeing after November, but that’s another story.

PRESIDENTS ON TV SHOWS: Five memorable appearances

Anyway, the "MythBusters" announcement was just a small part of the event. The White House had assembled a cast of dozens of America’s most inspiring math and science students and their projects. Among those present was Mikayla Nelson, for instance. Mikayla is a Billings, Mont., high school freshman who had helped design and build a solar-powered carbon-fiber car from scratch. Also mentioned were Jonathan Berman, Benjamin Kotzubei, and Austin Veseliza, a trio of seventh-graders from Los Angeles whose experiments indicate that gel is a better shock absorber than foam for sports helmets.

Then there were Diego Vasquez and Antonio Hernandez, representing Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix. They were inspired to develop a motorized chair to help a classmate with disabilities – work that won them a grant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The first time they were ever on an airplane was when they flew to present their invention,” said Obama.

The president also seemed quite taken with the way Diego and Antonio raised money for their efforts. It involved tamales – lots of them.

They and their parents made a big batch of tamales and sold them.

“You know, that’s not just the power of science. That’s the promise of America,” said Obama.

No word yet on whether Obama sampled any of the aforesaid tamales. Perhaps he’ll mention that on “MythBusters,” too.

PRESIDENTS ON TV SHOWS: Five memorable appearances

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