In early 2012, I decided to apply for a show being cast by Pilgrim Studios for the Discovery Channel called Top Engineer (a name which was later changed to The Big Brain Theory). The show was being billed as a new kind of design/build competition, in the style of Junkyard Wars (one of the shows I absolutely adored as a kid), and I couldn’t resist. I sent in an application video, got a call back, went to an in-person audition in L.A., and became one of 10 contestants, out of around 1,000 applicants who were asked to submit more information.
I then mysteriously disappeared from Boston for 7 weeks, and during that time filmed 8 episodes of The Big Brain Theory. The show followed 10 engineers through 8 different extremely difficult engineering challenges; the engineers would be split up into 2 teams, and given between 3 and 5 days to build a device in response to a stated challenge. These challenges included shooting a missile out of the sky, stopping a speeding car without damaging it, building a portable and deployable shelter that could withstand extreme weather events, and keeping a 160-pound “bomb” from exploding in a head-on collision, just to name a few.
I had the time of my life working on these challenges, though it was also one of the most stressful experiences of my life. I really hope that it inspires kids and adults alike to pursue their interests in engineering, math, and science, the way that shows like Junkyard Wars, Battlebots, Bill Nye the Science Guy and others inspired me as a kid. Check out each episode of the show and my play-by-play review of them here.