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AAAS Member Alan Alda's Flame Challenge

As an 11 year-old child, AAAS member Alan Alda asked his teacher "What is a flame?" However, he only received a vague and unhelpful answer. Today the former M*A*S*H star is asking that same question of scientists to encourage them to be better communicators.

As a member of the faculty at the State University of New York's Center for Communicating Science, Alda has launched the the Flame Challenge -- write a good explanation for a flame that a panel of 11-year-old kids can understand. The winning entry will be unveiled at the World Science Festival in New York in June. The winner will get VIP tickets to the festival, along with a Flame Challenge T-shirt, and "the gratitude of a nation of 11-year-olds," states the Flame Challenge website.

The deadline for submissions is April 12, 2012. After the deadline a panel of scientists will judge the submissions for accuracy, then pass them along to a team of 11 year-olds who will pick the winner.

You can read his interview with Science here

And learn more about the Flame Challenge and the State University of New York's Center for Communicating Science here