The video: Last night, President Obama appeared on "Mythbusters," the popular Discovery Channel show that "tests the truth" of "popular legends and stuff you see in the movies." Obama, who proclaimed himself a "big fan" of the program and its mission to make science fun, enlisted hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman to revisit the myth of Archimedes, a Greek mathematician who supposedly set an invading Roman ship on fire by using giant mirrors to transform the sun into a "heat ray." Savage and Hyneman enlisted 500 San Francisco high school students to test the legend's veracity once and for all. Sure enough, the mirrors failed to ignite the vessel, definitively "busting" the Archimedes myth.
The reaction: The episode may not have been the most thrilling in "Mythbusters" history, says John Teti at The AV Club, but this hands-on show was "a perfect choice for a president seeking to proselytize science to American kids." The president's stint on the show is "brief, warm, and not unpresidential," says Troy Patterson at Slate. But "his cordiality is very slightly self-consciously stilted." It is perhaps too obvious that he and the hosts are "enacting a storytime theatrical for the benefit of our nation's youth." Watch President Obama on "Mythbusters":