Thursday, July 05, 2012

VIDEO | Alan Alda is Trying to Find the Next Carl Sagan

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Miles O'Brien reports on a contest created by actor Alan Alda, which challenges scientists to flex their communication muscles by answering the seemingly simple question, "What is a flame?" Thousands of 11-year-olds serve as judges.

      Any parent can remember the moment when their child asks one of those seemingly simple, yet devilishly hard questions: you know, “why is the sky blue?”… “why are plants green?”…and “where do babies come from?”

One of the toughest in this category is “what is a flame?” In 1947, an 11-year old Alan Alda asked his teacher that question and got a non-response: “oxidation” – thus ensuring young Alan would continue on his career path of acting instead of taking a turn toward science. . . .


  1. Anonymous2:48 PM

    The astromoner/physicist I think is somewhere on a par to the wonderful late Carl Sagan is the British Prof Brian Cox.
    But not in the way that he is the next Carl Sagan. - Sagan was an incredible teacher and astronomer in his own right and so is Professor Cox.
    Where the two astronomers tally is (handsome counts) I don't mind but in fame it helps. * Both guys speak in soft lyrical tones and with a very gentlemanly demeanour which is somehow compelling to the listener/viewer.
    Carl knew his stuff and Brian knows his stuff now.

  2. One interesting thing about Carl Sagan, I thought, was his comments regarding extraterrestial visits. Over the years he would say," Extraterrestials may have visited the earth thousands of years ago, and they may come back thousands of years from now... but they are not here now!" (or words to that effect). I always thought this was a brilliant saying! Not so much intelligent, but brilliant!


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