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Stony Brook’s Alan Alda Interviewed on HuffPost Live

Alan Alda, the  popular film and television star for whom Stony Brook University’s Alda Center for Communicating Science is named, was interviewed on HuffPost Live about the 2014 “Flame Challenge” competition.  The 30-minute segment aired on Tuesday, May 27th.

This year the annual contest is challenging scientists to answer a vibrant question asked by 11-year-olds around the country: “What is color?”

The Flame Challenge began in 2011 with actor and science advocate Alan Alda’s childhood query: What is a flame? To choose this year’s challenge, the Alda Center collected more than 800 questions from children, ranging from “Why do we laugh?” to “What will happen if a black hole swallowed the sun?”

For more information on entering or judging the contest, or to see last year’s top entries, please visit

The annual Flame Challenge contest is part of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science’s mission of helping scientists communicate more effectively with the public. Located in Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism, the Alda Center gives innovative Communicating Science courses for graduate students in the sciences, and conducts workshops around the country. Alan Alda is a founding member of the Alda Center and a Visiting Professor in the School of Journalism.

The Flame Challenge’s sponsors are both major nonprofit scientific societies. The American Chemical Society is chartered by the U.S. Congress and is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research. ACS encourages each of its 164,000 members to speak simply about their science and its importance to all of our lives. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, was founded in 1848. It includes some 261 affiliated groups, serving a total of 10 million individuals, and its mission is to “advance science and serve society.”


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