Kari Byron takes the stereotypes and stigma around being a woman on television and in science and—quite literally—blows them up. She is proof that you don’t need to wear a lab coat—or, be a guy—to geek out on science. In turning her love of art, sculpture, and special effects into a career involving explosives and hard hats, she has catapulted herself into an unexpected role as the queen of scientific stunts.
On MythBusters, Kari and her cohorts filmed over 7,200 hours, tested over 900 myths, set off 850 explosions and used 43,500 yards of duct tape. To examine each urban legend, they applied the scientific method: question, hypothesize, experiment, analyze, and ultimately, come to conclusions. Along the way, Kari discovered that this logical process is also the perfect tool for solving everyday problems, from unsatisfying relationships to depression and debt. In Crash Test Girl: An Unlikely Experiment in Using the Scientific Method to Answer Life’s Toughest Questions (HarperOne, $25.99), Kari reveals to readers her scientific method for investigating, growing, and making discoveries that can lead to greater wisdom, happiness and success (while having a lot of fun in the process).
She shares the insights and knowledge she’s gained, as well as:
- How salary inequality at Mythbusters turned her into an advocate for equal pay
- Why having no scientists on Mythbusters made the show better
- How Mythbusters was a vehicle for critical thinking and how Kari uses the scientific method in her real life
- How an inherently shy person forced herself to become a performer
- Why to be successful, you don’t have to be right, but you do have to understand, with a scientist’s emotional detachment, why you were wrong
- How Kari handled getting fired and what steps she took to get back on track
Crash Test Girl reminds us that science is for everyone, as long as you’re willing to strap in, put on your safety goggles, hit a few walls, and learn from the results. Using a combination of methodical experimentation and unconventional creativity, you’ll come to the most important conclusion of all: In life, sometimes you crash and burn, but you can always crash and learn.