Behind the Scenes: Attacking Science Jargon in ‘Flame Challenge’

BY Jenny Marder  June 28, 2012 at 10:11 AM EST

In 1947, when film star Alan Alda was 11-years-old, he asked a teacher the seemingly innocuous question, “What is a flame?” The answer, “oxidation,” was thoroughly unsatisfying to young Alda.

Fast forward to 2012. Out of that interaction has grown a contest called The Flame Challenge, designed to motivate scientists to work on their communication skills. Alda is host, scientists are participants and the judges: 6,000 11-year-olds.

Our science correspondent Miles O’Brien reports on the project in a video report that we will post on our website on Friday. Stay tuned for that and the winning entry.

But first, Miles joined us for a behind-the-scenes look at the piece, Alda’s Flame Challenge contest and the importance of battling jargon.