Kari Byron

Thursday, August 18 by John Coon

It is no myth saying Kari Byron makes science feel cool. As a part of the myth debunking team on "Mythbusters," Byron reels in viewers and sparks plenty of fantasies among science geeks with equal servings of brains and beauty. She actually got her start as a television host and artist based in San Francisco. Byron brings a unique viewpoint to the show. It is not everyday you get to see a fish-eating vegetarian artist and science geek rolled into one package.

Artistic Beginnings. Byron did not seem destined to enter the world of science when she graduated from San Francisco State University in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in film and sculpture. The redheaded beauty strapped on a backpack and took a year-long sabbatical after college, traveling through South Asia and other parts of the world. Byron then returned to California and made herself at home in the local artistic community. She secured public exhibitions of some of her sculptures and some of her work has been showcased in prominent art galleries located in San Francisco and San Jose.

Busting Myths. Byron's sculpting skills and penchant for taking odd jobs soon led her into the business of building models and prototype toys.  After taking a job at M5 Industries, Byron soon joined M5 colleagues Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara as part of a "build team" used by "Mythbusters" hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman to build devices they used to prove or disprove common myths. A combination of intelligence, humor and good looks has helped the red-headed beauty become one of the most popular co-hosts on the long running reality show.

Running the Show. Byron parlayed her popularity from "Mythbusters" into her own spinoff show "Head Rush" airing on the Science Channel. This show features Byron presenting experiments and quizzes that are interwoven with preexisting footage from "Mythbusters." Away from Television, Byron contributes a monthly column to the website GeekMom where she writes about life as a working mother. 

Staying Artistic. Amid her success as a TV star, Byron has not abandoned her roots as a sculptor and artist. She does not do public exhibitions of her sculptures these days, fearing that her role on "Mythbusters" would detract from her artwork. Creating art is more of a personal thing for Byron now and she tries to spend time each day creating fresh art.

Getting Personal. Byron is often credited with being a vegetarian. She is actually a pescatarian, a person who eats only seafood instead of abstaining from all meat. In other words, fish aren't going to swim easy around Byron. She still resides in San Francisco with her husban Paul Ulrich and her daughter. Byron's scientific leanings have led her to be an atheist since childhood.

-John Coon