Photo taken from video
The president is taking part in the program not only because he and his daughters are fans of the show, but also as part of an effort to highlight the importance of science education — and to challenge the hosts to prove a certain Greek legend.
From Wikipedia: "The 2nd century AD author Lucian wrote that during the Siege of Syracuse (c. 214–212 BC), Archimedes destroyed enemy ships with fire. Centuries later, Anthemius of Tralles mentions burning-glasses as Archimedes’ weapon. The device, sometimes called the “Archimedes heat ray”, was used to focus sunlight onto approaching ships, causing them to catch fire."
While ”Mythbusters” has covered the topic before — and given it the “busted/failed” label — people have written in asking them to try again under different conditions. Indeed, a group of students in 2005 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had success in staging a recreation of Archimedes weapon; lighting a mock-up ship on fire with 127 directed one-foot mirrors.
Look for the Obama episode to air on Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. EST on the Discovery Channel.
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