Video of the day

Not long after my 8-year old son, Evan, asked me if fire were a solid, liquid or a gas, I came across this Dahlia Lithwick story on Alan Alda’s flame challenge:

About six months ago, my 8-year-old asked whether fire was a solid, a liquid, or a gas. I am sad to confess that my answer at the time was: “A gas. … No, a solid. … No. A gas. … It depends. … Let’s check Google. Look! A squirrel!” And those were the coherent parts. When actor Alan Alda was 11, he too asked a teacher what a flame was. And her one-word explanation—“oxidation”—wasn’t much more satisfying than mine. So in 2011, Alda—who is a longtime science enthusiast, PBS science sherpa, and founding member of the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York—developed the Flame Challenge, a competition in which scientists around the country are tasked with explaining a complicated scientific idea to the satisfaction of thousands of exacting 11-year-old judges.

Well, great minds, great 8-year olds, or something like that.  Anyway, here’s the winning video and it’s pretty awesome.  The Greene progeny of all ages enjoyed (alright, Sarah did get bored after a bit):

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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