The Flame Challenge: What is a Flame?

The First Winner of The Flame Challenge

Ben Ames
PhD Candidate, University of Innsbruck

I also have a passion for music, film, and the performing arts. So when I learned about this wonderful contest, I had finally found a project where I could put all of my interests to use. I locked myself in my basement for a solid week, writing, narrating, animating, and composing every element of the film. - Ben Ames

About Ben

The first winner of The Flame Challenge, Ben Ames, is an American working on his PhD in quantum optics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, exploring how atoms interact with light on the tiny, tiny, quantum level.

He grew up in Kansas City, MO, the youngest of eight children, in a home filled with music. As a child, he played piano and guitar, performed in high school plays, studied ballet, and danced each year in a local production of The Nutcracker. (Ben’s mother is a ballerina and ballet teacher).

Ben’s earliest ambition, however, was to be an inventor, like Thomas Edison, and he loved to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy on television. He became intimidated by science in grade school, but in college he rediscovered his passion for asking questions about the natural world. Ben received a bachelor’s degree in applied physics from the University of Utah, and studied in Finland before moving to the University of Innsbruck. Ben’s wife, Missy, is an artist and former art teacher. Their daughter, Adelaide, enjoys music as well.

A Word from Ben

Watch the Winning Video