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.
At Blue Hill, Maine’s George Stevens Academy, there lies a Twinkie that was the subject of teacher Roger Bennatti’s 1976 science lesson on chemical preservatives and shelf life. Now the immortal snack cake sits in a glass case on the desk of the school’s Dean of Students Libby Rosemeier who was a student in the […]
In the early 1970s, Princeton University physicist Gerard O’Neill became a space activist touting plans to build human colonies in outer space. He argued that humans could escape (while helping alleviate) the environmental damage we are causing on Earth by migrating to space habitats housed in cylinders that would be suspended 250,000 miles from Earth […]
In a new scientific study, McGill University researcher Jay Olson combined stage magic with psychology to make people think that an fMRI machine (actually a fake) could read their minds and implant thoughts in their heads. Essentially, Olson and his colleagues used “mentalist” gimmicks to do the ESP and “thought insertion” but convinced the subjects […]
If you’ve got a coding career on your mind, few programming disciplines will take you farther than a commanding knowledge of the Python language, which is not to be mistaken for parseltongue. Its versatility and ease of use make it a go-to for any coding project…so master Python now with this all-inclusive all-level python programming course […]
The realm of web development is constantly evolving. New platforms, languages, and processes materialize all the time, so staying on top of all that innovation is a tall order.Whether you’re brushing up on new tricks, starting from scratch, or just looking to make your own website a little jazzier, Rob Percival’s new Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 (now […]
Folks used to rely on alarms to protect their home – and before that, the family dog. Now, anyone looking to guard their homes can choose from some high-tech options, including the Amaryllo iCamPRO FHD Home Security Camera (now just $219 in the Boing Boing Store).In fact, this 2015 CES “Best of Innovation” award-winner boasts so many features, it’s […]