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.
His teacher might have been too busy, but in all likelihood, didn’t really know the answer. I sure didn’t before I started working on my story for the NewsHour on the Flame Challenge. In fact, one of the few things I knew about flames was they burn in a sphere in the absence of gravity (no convection without it).
I felt bad about this until I met the winner, Ben Ames. Ben is a quantum physicist working on his doctorate at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. When he heard about the Flame Challenge, he became immediately intrigued, but he also did what all Dads hoping to maintain their superpower luster do these days; he immediately went to Wikipedia to try and figure out what the heck a flame is anyway.
So don’t feel bad, fellow humanities majors. The problem with the Wikipedia entry is that it’s tough sledding for an 11-year-old – and for those who stopped learning science when they were eleven.
In the video above, NewsHour host Hari Sreenivasan talks with Miles (in my living room, heh!) about the "Flame Challenge" contest.
Beatboxer Tom Thum had ENT doctor and laryngeal surgeon Dr Matthew Broadhurst shine an endoscopic camera down his throat while beatboxing: “I wanted to find out how my larynx functioned when beatboxing compared to how it functions normally with speech, and whether or not there were any abnormalities in my laryngeal anatomy. I also had […]
Gastric bypass surgery is remarkably effective at promoting weight-loss (it cuts the long-term risk of early death from morbid obesity by 40%), and it’s long been presumed that the major action by which it worked was that, by bypassing the parts of the gut where most food absorbtion takes place, it limited the calories that […]
Timothy writes, “Diego Gómez is a Colombian conservation biologist. When he was a college student, he shared a single research paper online so that others could read and learn from it, just as he did. Diego was criminally prosecuted for copyright infringement, and faced up to 8 years in prison.”
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