Wednesday night’s finale of the Discovery Channel’s “Big Brain Theory” included a drop-in by astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the destruction of a 34-foot bridge. But, for Corey Fleischer ’05, ’08, mechanical engineering, the most exciting point of being declared the season’s big winner was a bit less, well, explosive.
“The most exciting outcome is having my kids think their dad is ‘the next great American innovator’ as I was labeled on the show,” said Fleischer, a father of two and a senior mechanical engineer at Lockheed Martin. “That’s the best; my kids are going to think their dad is sooo smart…hah!”
Besides the admiration of his kids, Fleischer also walked away from the engineering-based reality show $50,000 richer, and with a one-year contract to work with WET Design, which specializes in innovative water-based designed environments. Over the course of eight weeks and working in teams, the 10 brainy contestants faced challenges of design and execution to see whose ideas would ultimately rise to the top.
“I went out there not knowing what the challenges were going to be like or who the competition was,” said Fleischer, who outside of his work at Lockheed Martin enjoys tinkering on inventions in his garage. While a student at UMBC, he faced regular challenges as a member of the Mini-Baja (now SAE) team.
“I was just hoping not to be the first person eliminated. Then once I got out there and saw the people I was working with and the magnitude of the challenges I relaxed and knew regardless of the outcome I was going to have a blast. Winning the competition was just a bonus!”
Fleischer was the only contestant to never experience a loss. His favorite challenge — which he led — involved designing a robot that could compete in a foot race, throw a javelin and perform a long jump.
“It was the first time I was a team leader and it was the first time a team had completed a challenge,” he said. “I was very proud of what we created. After our robot jumped 16 ft, we had camera-men, producers, technical advisers and all sorts of people high-fiving us and yelling ‘good job.'”