02 Jun '12, 6pm

Dot Earth Blog: Winning Entry in 'What is a Flame' Contest: A kid-judged contest produces a winning explanation

I recently wrote about the “Flame Challenge ,” a contest organized by the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. In the competition, more than 800 contestants sought to answer — in everything from poetry to animation — the question, “What is a flame?” The contest was sparked by the actor and master science communicator Alan Alda , who’s an adviser to the Stony Brook program. In a guest editorial in the journal Science in early March, he put out a call for some fresh ideas, explaining that when he was 11, he asked a teacher this question and got the sterile response, “It’s oxidation.” The winner, announced by Alda at the World Science Festival today, is the animation above, by Ben Ames, a 31-year-old Missouri-born graduate student at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, studying quantum optics. (Here are the six finalists. ) You may agree or disagree, ...

Full article: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/02/winning-entr...

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