The Flame Challenge™

What is The Flame Challenge™?

When Alda was invited to contribute a guest editorial to the journal, Science, he wrote about why we need scientists to communicate clearly and vividly with the public. The Flame Challenge™ was born.

I’d like to try a playful experiment. Would you be willing to have a go at writing your own explanation of what a flame is — one that an 11-year-old would find intelligible, maybe even fun?

Since 2012, this international contest challenges scientists at every level – from graduate students to senior researchers – to communicate familiar yet complex concepts in ways that are understandable to an 11-year-old.  Written, graphic and video submissions then make their way to classrooms of fifth- and sixth-graders from all over the globe who review them and decide the winners.

The Flame Challenge™ offers a $1,000 cash prize for winning scientist entries in each of the categories. The winning scientists will also receive a trip to New York City (includes airfare and accommodations for two nights), where they will meet Alan Alda and be honored during a special program at the World Science Festival.

Meet the 2018 Flame Challenge Winners!


Get Involved

Scientists, teachers, students and families are invited to join us each year as partners in The Flame Challenge™. Please see the navigation at right to learn more about how to get involved.

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