13-year-old student helps bust myths about flatulence, duct tape on new show

  • Jan. 3, 2019 4:00 p.m.

FORT WORTH, Texas —Can toots fuel a rocket?

Can duct tape make workable car tires?

Those are some of the questions Cannan Huey-You, 13, explored last summer as part of a six-member team of junior scientists who worked with celebrity host Adam Savage on the new “MythBusters Jr.”

The show is a spin off of the popular “MythBusters.” Six mythbusters under 16 joined Savage on camera to test myths about the world around them, including one involving flatulence.

“We tried to use flatulence as viable rocket fuel,” Cannan explained matter-of-factually. (You will have to tune in to find out more.)

The 10-episode season premiered at 8 p.m. Jan. 2 on the Science Channel. It was recorded in studios north of San Francisco.

Savage described the young people he worked with as “heroes” who are helping shape tomorrow’s world. He said the young co-hosts are helping break those age-old negative stereotypes about lazy youth.

“I was so inspired to work with these kids,” Savage said.

Cannan is a Texas Christian University sophomore double majoring in physics and astronomy/engineering with plans to be an astronaut. (He was 12 when the episodes were filmed). Cannan was the youngest MythBuster and the show’s only college student.

The show’s producers came up with the myths and let the group test them.

“There are quite a few things that I learned,” Cannan said. “In college we don’t build anything or blow anything up.”

The original “MythBusters” was popular with parents and children. Many young viewers, including Cannan, have described learning about science because they liked the show. Savage said he hopes to inspire viewers to delve deep into figuring out scientific questions.

“The goal is to make something more substantial than entertainment,” Savage said.

Before Cannan joined the cast of the Science Channel show, he was already well-known in North Texas as a young college student attending TCU and for being the younger brother of another TCU science prodigy.

Cannan’s older brother is Carson Huey-You, who made headlines last year when he became TCU’s youngest graduate at 14. Carson, who researched material for the myths behind-the-scenes, will show up in two episodes.

“I’m pretty excited about the show airing,” Cannan said in early December. His team explored building a fire extinguisher jet pack and whether there are dominoes big enough to crush a car.

For Cannan, it also meant learning a more universal teen rite of passage —driving a car for the first time.

“That was fun,” he said.

Cannan said the first episode finds the team testing whether duct tape can be used to make workable car tires.

“I may have hit one or two cones,” Cannan said, adding: “It is pretty fun riding on duct tape tires.”

In that episode, Cannan goes behind the wheel as Savage teaches him how to maneuver a car. Under Savage’s guidance, Cannan drives the course. At the end, Savage said: “Cannan, you just drove a car, buddy!”

Savage said he enjoyed the driving lesson.

“Teaching Cannan how to drive was one of the best things I did all summer,” Savage said.

C. Magnus L. Rittby, senior associate dean for administration and graduate programs at TCU’s College of Science and Engineering, said a campus viewing event is in the plans. He said the brother’s academic journeys are popular on campus.

“It’s something of which we are proud,” Rittby said.

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