An explosives expert from Missouri University of Science and Technology has teamed up with one of his former students to co-host a new Discovery Channel series about the engineering of blowing things up.
The 13-part series, “The Detonators,” features Dr. Paul Worsey, professor of mining engineering at Missouri S&T, and Dr. Braden Lusk, assistant professor of mining engineering at the University of Kentucky. Worsey is Missouri S&T’s chief explosives expert, and Lusk earned a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in mining engineering from Missouri S&T (then known as the University of Missouri-Rolla) in 2000 and 2006, respectively. (Pictured at right: Worsey, holding watermelon, and Lusk during filming at S&T’s Experimental Mine.)
“The Detonators” is a co-production of RDF USA and IWC, an RDF-owned company in Scotland. Slated to begin in the first quarter of 2009, the Discovery Channel series will follow Worsey and Lusk as they meet the blasters behind such structures as urban skyscrapers, massive steel bridges and giant stadiums. The hour-long episodes will also show Worsey and Lusk giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the demolitions.
“Through the eyes of these two experts, viewers will really understand this fascinating world of demolition and more importantly how it can actually go wrong,” says Charles Tremayne of RDF USA, co-executive producer of the program,
Adds Beth Dietrich, co-executive producer for the Discovery Channel: “There’s a lot more to it than just blowing things up; there’s a surgical precision. It’s so perfect for Discovery because it’s kind of ‘gee-whiz, I had no idea,’ where it looks so easy but it’s incredibly complicated.”
The show’s producers have been working with Worsey and Lusk for several months filming at various locations around the world and at Missouri S&T’s Experimental Mine.
“It’s been a lot of work, but a lot of fun” to create the series, Worsey says. “We have a unique explosives engineering program at S&T, and this series will give viewers a glimpse of the technology behind blowing stuff up.”
Missouri S&T has a built an international reputation in recent years for its expertise in explosives engineering. The campus developed the first minor in explosives engineering in 2005. That same year, it first offered a summer “explosives camp” for high school juniors and seniors that has become one of the university’s most popular summer camp offerings.
Related: The doc of destruction, discovered by Discovery, on Visions, Missouri S&T’s research blog.