2014 Flame Challenge: What is Colour?

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

Alan Alda's Flame Challenge - what is colour. This opens a new browser window.

How do you explain colour to an 11 year old?

That’s the question Alan Alda (actor turned part-time professor) has posed for this year’s Flame Challenge to scientists across the globe.

Alan Alda (actor turned part-time professor) founding member of the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University which is dedicated to explaining complex science to 11 year-olds who are also the judges.

The contest started in 2011 asking scientists What is a flame? Last year the question was What is time? This year it’s What is colour?

To choose this year’s challenge, The Alda Center collected more than 800 questions from children from all over the world. Many different questions were asked about colour such as “Is my blue their blue?” and “Does everyone see colour the same?”

Here’s this year’s Flame Challenge
Alda is challenging scientists to send in a written or visual explanation to answer the question: What is colour?

Colour is a fundamental question that spans across all the sciences so the question can be answered from the perspective of physics, chemistry, psychology, geological or oceanographic.

Scientists have until March 1, 2014 to submit their answers in writing, video or graphics.

Once scientific accuracy has been verified, the entries are sent out to 11 year-old around the world to vote for their favourite.   There are two winners – one Written and one Visual (video or graphic entry). The winning scientists will be brought to New York to be honoured in June at the World Science Festival.

Student judges
Teachers, make sure to get your 5th and 6th grade classes signed up as judges as soon as possible (even if you were registered last year, you must re-register for this year).

My entry is in. Now it’s just a matter of crossing my fingers and toes whilst my entry is being judged by 20,000+ 11 year olds from around the globe!


Image: www.llnl.gov

Source: www.FlameChallenge.org

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