Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage
2009 Honorary Members
For their use of science and technology in testing popular myths and urban legends, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have been elected honorary life members of Sigma Xi. They are the hosts of the Mythbusters television series on the Discovery Channel.
Jamie was raised in Indiana, where his father ran an apple orchard and his mother was a librarian. Early on, he exhibited an adventurous streak. Graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Russian, he decided to go to the Caribbean and work on a charter sailboat. Six months later he owned his own boat and started a charter diving business.
He next decided to try his hand at special effects. Within two years in the New York City area, Hyneman had worked on several feature films and dozens of commercials. He moved to the San Francisco bay area to get on the crew of some effects-intensive major feature films.
Over the years he worked on Robocop, Arachnophobia, Naked Lunch and numerous other films until he was hired to manage the Colossal Pictures model shop. After several years of involvement with Colossal, he took over the model shop when Colossal was forced to downsize during the dot com bust. This is how M5 Industries was born. Jamie evolved M5 into a successful, versatile effects business that specializes in problematic custom builds.
Over the years, he has had a hand in producing effects for more than 800 commercials, dozens of feature films and hundreds of prototypes. He holds several patents, numerous awards for effects projects and has kept a steady flow of R&D projects running at M5.
Hyneman lives in San Francisco with his wife of 20 years, who teaches science in the bay area.
Adam Savage was born in New York City, the child of a psychotherapist and a filmmaker/painter. Early in his career he worked as a projectionist, photo developer, graphic designer, animator, set designer, gallery owner, actor, sculptor and prop-maker. In the summer of 1990, he went to San Francisco and fell into its thriving theater scene, working for dozens of companies.
He welded, fooled with pneumatics, hydraulics and electronics and picked up some rudimentary machining techniques at Amorphic Robot Works, building all sorts of robots. He was also sculpting and exhibiting his work in shows around the country.
This quirky mix of artistic, theater-design and mechanical skills gained Adam a reputation for solving difficult mechanical set problems for theaters. And that eventually caught the eye of the special effects industry.
Savage started in commercials for clients as diverse as Sega, Coca-Cola, Nike, Burger King and Chevrolet. He later moved to George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic, where he worked on Star Wars, Galaxy Quest, Space Cowboys, A.I. and Terminator 3, among others.
In the spring of 2002, his old boss Jamie Hyneman called to ask if he'd like to participate in a demo reel for a TV pilot — a new show for the Discovery Channel. Savage lives in San Francisco with his wife, twin boys and "the best dog in the doggone world."