We All Sleep, But Can We Explain It?

Alan Alda has announced the latest topic for his Flame Challenge – sleep (H/T LiveScience).  This is the fourth year of the challenge, which is a contest for scientists to try and explain scientific concepts to an 11-year old.  Entries are judged by students.  The topics for previous years were flame, time, and color.  The deadline for entries is February 13, 2015.

While scientists are the contestants, the organizers need students to judge.  Teachers can sign up their classes to help review the entries, which can be in written, video or graphic form.  For the purposes of this competition, scientists can be retired, currently employed in doing scientific work, or working on (or holding) a graduate science degree.

There are two divisions for entries: written and visual.  Written explanations must be no more than 300 words, and videos can be no longer than 5 minutes long.  Winners in each division will receive $1,000 and a trip to New York City.  There the winning entries will be recognized at the World Science Festival and the winners will have a chance to meet Alan Alda.

The contest is sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society.  Alda, when not acting, is a visiting professor at his eponymous Center for Communicating Science at the State University of New York, Stony Brook.



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