Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Alan Alda: Scientists Should Learn to Talk to Children

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

Date: 19 December 2012 Time: 07:42 AM ET
alan alda at a meeting in D.C.
Alan Alda gave a presentation on the importance of science communication at the Council of Graduate Schools annual meeting held in Washington D.C., on Dec. 03, 2010.
CREDIT: Center for Communicating Science

What is time?

That's the question put to scientists this year by the Flame Challenge, a contest first conceived by actor Alan Alda, famous for his roles on the TV shows M*A*S*H and "The West Wing." The directive? For scientists to explain this complex concept in ways that will inspire and interest 11-year-old children.

The Flame Challenge gets its name from last year's inaugural competition, which posed a question from Alda's own childhood: What is flame? As an 11-year-old, Alda had asked a teacher this question and gotten back the baffling, one-word answer, "oxidation."

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