|Born||James Franklin Hyneman
September 25, 1956
Marshall, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||Indiana University|
|Occupation||MythBusters co-host, M5 Industries CEO|
|Spouse(s)||Eileen Walsh (1984–present)|
James Franklin "Jamie" Hyneman (born September 25, 1956) is an American special effects expert and the co-host of the television series MythBusters alongside Adam Savage. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters is filmed. He is known among Robot Wars devotees for his robot entry, Blendo, which, for a time, was deemed too dangerous for entry in the competition. He is one of the designers of the aerial robotic camera system Wavecam, used in sports and entertainment events.
Early life, education, and early career
Hyneman was born in Marshall, Michigan and raised in Columbus, Indiana. Describing his early life, Hyneman said "I was a problematic kid, to be sure. I left home when I was 14 and hitchhiked all over the country."
He earned a degree in Russian linguistics from Indiana University. He also received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Villanova University. On November 25, 2011, Hyneman was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Twente (Enschede, Netherlands) for his role in the popularization of science and technology.
A variety of careers fill his resume, including certified dive master, wilderness survival expert, boat captain, linguist, pet shop owner, animal wrangler, machinist, concrete inspector, and chef. He apparently has a mild case of acrophobia (fear of heights), as mentioned in the "Hammer Drop" and "Duct Tape Bridge" episodes of Mythbusters.
Special effects work
Much of the experience Hyneman uses on Mythbusters comes from his time in the visual and special effects professions. Hyneman first broke into the effects industry in the late 80s as an uncredited special effects crew member on Top Gun. From there, Hyneman spent times as an animatronics technician for films such as Naked Lunch and Flubber, as well as work on the second and third installment of the Matrix Trilogy.
Currently, Hyneman owns his own special effects company, M5 Industries, located in San Francisco.
A distinctive part of his appearance is his dark beret, white long-sleeve button-up shirt over a black t-shirt, no-rim glasses, and occasionally, mirrored sunglasses with side anti-glare guards. This, along with his walrus-style mustache and deep voice, are constant subjects for jokes by co-host Adam Savage and other team members. A sign hanging in his workshop reading "Clean Up or Die", visible in several episodes, expresses his desire to keep the shop clean and tidy.
Hyneman's demeanor on MythBusters is calm, logical and no-nonsense, in stark contrast to Savage's more animated, impulsive and energetic persona. Hyneman is often exasperated by Savage's antics and he sometimes argues with him about the best approach to take. The two often have very different ideas for performing experiments and building devices. Hyneman's ideas tend to be more simplified than his co-host's, and he has a philosophy of reducing a solution to its most basic form, wherever possible. This difference has led to numerous competitions between the two presenters when testing myths, such as testing the Goldfish Memory myth and Hoverboard myth.
In the "AC on vs. Windows Down" myth, Hyneman revealed a food that he invented (and commonly eats) known as "the 444", a smoothie-like concoction of four fruit, four vegetable, and four grain servings. Despite skepticism by the rest of the crew, Hyneman described the 444's taste as "quite pleasant".
The two army-junk sellers in The Darwin Awards are portrayed by Savage and Hyneman. They appear during the story of the rocket-car, which they partially reproduced in the Mythbusters series' pilot episode and have retested two more times.
On May 16, 2010, Hyneman delivered the commencement address and received an honorary Doctorate of Engineering, from Villanova University. Hyneman has been dr.h.c. Jamie Hyneman since November 25, 2011 when he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Twente on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. He was awarded his honorary doctorate together with Adam Savage for their work in popularizing science.
Hyneman made a cameo appearance along with Savage on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on the May 1, 2008 episode "The Theory of Everything", where they play inspectors each giving thumbs-up after seeing a shirt soaked in pepper spray catch fire when shot by a taser. They went on to test this myth on Mythbusters and declare it confirmed with certain types of pepper spray.
Hyneman and Savage have also voiced characters on The Simpsons episode "The Daughter Also Rises" as a parody of themselves, the "MythCrackers", which prompts Bart and Milhouse to experiment in a similar fashion.
Hyneman is currently an editor and contributor at Tested.com alongside fellow Mythbuster Adam Savage, and longtime technology reviewers Will Smith and Norman Chan.
In 1984, Hyneman met his wife, Eileen Walsh—a science teacher—while he owned a sailboat diving charter business in the Virgin Islands. Hyneman identifies strongly with skeptics and atheists.
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- US patent 6458008, Jamie Hyneman, "Remote Control Device with Gyroscopic Stabilization and Directional Control", issued 2002-10-01
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- On December 12, 2006, in an interview on skepticality/042_skepticality.mp3 Skepticality, the official podcast of Skeptic Magazine, Hyneman said, "[A]ctually I'm pretty adamant about, you know, the whole God thing and it seems that skeptics are by and large atheists or something approaching that, which I strongly identify with. So it turned out to be a good thing and I have become enthusiastically part of it."
- In a 2011 interview on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show, at 1:20:00, Adam Savage is quoted as saying "Both Jamie and I are atheists."