The Humanity of Communicating Science
Actor, director, screenwriter and author Alan Alda, visiting professor and founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, sits down with Alan Inkles, Director of the Staller Center for the Arts.
Alda has honed his skills as a masterful interviewer over 11 years on the award-winning PBS series Scientific American Frontiers where he spoke with hundreds of the world’s greatest scientists. When meeting with academic leaders around the country, Alda started suggesting to university presidents that they teach scientists how to present their research to the public. Stony Brook accepted his challenge by opening the Center for Communicating Science where Alda used his experience as an actor: whether in relating to the people he interviewed or acted.
Using exercises derived from improvisational theater, he and the Center’s trainers help participants connect with their audience and bring clarity to complex ideas.
The Center has trained over 15,000 doctors and scientists in eight countries to be world class communicators. The Center has also trained Stony Brook University Discovery Prize Award young scientific finalists to present their nominated presentation to judges for consideration of winning $200,000 to further their research.
A seven-time Emmy Award winner as well as six Golden Globes Awards and recipient of the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce and wrote and directed many of the episodes on the classic TV series M*A*S*H. He has starred in, written and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator. He appeared in continuing roles on ER, The West Wing, 30 Rock, The Blacklist, Horace and Pete, The Good Fight, and a recurring role on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. Having most recently starred in the Academy Award nominated Noah Baumbach film, Marriage Story, Alan is also the author of several New York Times Best Selling books, the most recent being the 2017 break out book on relating and communicating, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?