Sunday, 3 June 2012

Communicating science - more difficult that you might think

The thought experiment goes, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, has it made a sound?"

Similarly, if science achieves a breakthrough, but neither the public nor policy makers are able to understand or act on it; is there any real value in that body of work?

It is on this note that I wish to congratulate the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University and their 'Flame Challenge'. The aim was to describe a flame to an 11 year old. The original challenge is described here.

The winner is an American born Ben Ames who is currently studying for his PhD in Austria. His winning explanation, as judged by 6,000 11 year old students at 130 schools, may be found here.

Well done Ben and also to the CCS.

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