Todd Sampson puts his faith in science to the test
WOULD you propel yourself down a railway track and through an inferno for your faith?
Would you stand in a swimming pool while someone fired an AK-47 gun straight at you?
Would you attempt to climb a 13-storey building with only two vacuum cleaners strapped to your back?
Todd Sampson would, and has, as he puts his faith in science to the test on his new show, Life on the Line.
The successful businessman, known for his documentaries, involvement on ABC's Gruen, and regular appearances on The Project, says the show was about putting his faith in science, and the laws of physics in particular, to the test.
"Science was always the only way for me to understand the world," Sampson tells The Guide.
"Whenever I got confused on how things worked, I would always turn to science to figure it out. That was ever since I was a boy.
"I just think science is the language of our lives... If you're not interested in science, you're not interested in life, really."
This passion for science came early in life for Sampson who said he was the kid who was always in the backyard doing experiments and making things explode, much to his parents' frustration.
He wants to share that passion with others.
"What I was trying to do is create a science series that people want to watch - that's entertaining, that's fun to watch," Sampson says. "It doesn't have to be boring. It doesn't have to have scientists in white coats, even though I like white coats, but it can be entertaining and you can feel emotions and you can still learn.
"That was my goal."
This is where his career in advertising and marketing came into play.
"You probably notice the scientists (on the show) are all young, they're all different, they're quirky in their own way," he said.
"They don't fit into any stereotype of what you expect. That was all by choice because we wanted to get people to be interested in it.
"These laws are the natural laws around us, they govern our lives, so we wanted to get interesting, quirky people that shared the passion for experimenting, adventure and science and put them into a show and see what happens," Sampson said of the team who work on the wacky experiments with him.
The educational value of the show has already been recognised and, after being asked to do so, Sampson says his team made a version of the series of the show that would become part of school curriculum.
Whether the entertainment comes from learning about the physics behind Life On the Line's experiments, or simply from being dumbfounded by the lengths Sampson is willing to go to test the laws of physics, the show is sure to leave an impression.
In the first 30-minute episode, Sampson explores the physics of heat transfer by dousing himself in water, lying on a sled and propelling himself down a track through a fire raging at more than 800 degrees Celsius.
But Sampson says he's not a brave person.
"I'm definitely not immune to fear," he said.
"When the event comes, I know that I've done everything in my power with the science, the engineering, the experiment.
"I've done everything in my power to make it right. "I just concentrate on slowing my breath down and just concentrate on staying calm and then I just trust my science."
Todd Sampson's Life on the Line premieres on Tuesday at 8pm on ABC1.