Alan Alda Wants You to Explain Things to His 11-Year Old Self

Alan Alda, Visiting Professor at the Journalism School of SUNY-Stony Brook, host of Scientific American Frontiers, and actor in the current films Tower Heist and Wanderlust, has an immodest proposal in today’s edition of Science (registration may be required).

Based on an unsatisfying experience when he was 11 (as he explains in the piece), Alda has announced the Flame Challenge  Put simply (which is what he wants scientists to do):

“Would you be willing to have a go at writing your own explanation of what a flame is—one that an 11-year-old would find intelligible, maybe even fun? The Center for Communicating Science is looking for new ways to light up people’s minds with science, and you might point the way. We’ll try out the entries on real 11-year-olds and see which work best.”

Go to the website for specific entry details.  They will take your flame explanations until April 2.  If you know 11-year olds who may be interested in judging the contest, or in providing new questions for future editions of the challenge, the website wants to hear from you as well.