Media Coverage

Making a Connection: Actor Alan Alda Uses Improv to Lead UCSB Researchers in Learning to Communicate Their Science Clearly and Conversationally

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As host of the PBS documentary program “Scientific American Frontiers,” Alda interviewed hundreds of scientists and discovered that many have compelling stories but have difficulty sharing them in a clear, concise way. Looking to improv theater as a way for scientists to hone their communication skills, Alda created Improv for Scientists, an initiative of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York. Continue reading

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M*A*S*H Star Backs Forensic Science Centre at Scotland’s Dundee University

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M*A*S*H actor Alan Alda has given his support to Dundee University’s new £10m forensic science research centre in a video message. The Alan Alda Center is an international partner of the Leverhulme Centre, which was officially launched by the Queen on Wednesday. In the message, Mr. Alda said, “We are very excited to be working with the Leverhulme Research Centre at the University of Dundee. The work you are planning in forensic science is so tremendously important to justice… We are going to have a great time working together.” Continue reading

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This Idea Must Die: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

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The episode is drawn from a fascinating book of the same name: This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress (Edge Question Series). It’s the latest edition in an annual series of books put out by the intellectual salon Edge.org and its ringleader John Brockman. Brockman makes his living as a literary agent, but for decades he’s also been a curator of great minds and big ideas. Years ago, he organized something called The Reality Club. “The idea,” Brockman tells us, “was that we would seek out the most interesting, brilliant minds, have them get up in front of the group — which was the way they could get in the group — and ask aloud the questions they were asking themselves.” Featuring Alan Alda, the actor, writer, lifelong science buff, and visiting professor at the Alan AldaCenter for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Continue reading

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Science communication training should be about more than just how to transmit knowledge

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For some scientists, communicating effectively with the public seems to come naturally. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson currently has more than five million Twitter followers. Astronomer Carl Sagan enraptured audiences for decades as a ubiquitous cosmic sage on American televisions. And Stephen Jay Gould’s public visibility was such that he voiced an animated version of himself on “The Simpsons.” But, for most scientists, outward-facing communication is not something they’ve typically thought about much… let alone sought to cultivate. Continue reading

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Alan Alda Promotes Improv As Means To Better Science Communication

Alan Alda works with a group of medical students to improve their improv technique. Photo credit: The Alan Alda Center.

Alan Alda lends much more than just his name to The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, an institution at Stony Brook University that uses improvisational theater principles to train scientists to better convey what they do—and why those outside the scientific community should care. He is responsible for the inception of the center, which was founded in 2009 but didn’t take his name until 2013, and he continues to serve as a visiting professor, and to help grow the center’s reach and develop new programming ideas. Continue reading

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Alan Alda to Receive Public Welfare Medal – National Academy of Sciences’ Most Prestigious Award

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The National Academy of Sciences is presenting its 2016 Public Welfare Medal to actor, director, writer, and science communicator Alan Alda in recognition of his “extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public.” The medal is the Academy’s most prestigious award, established in 1914 and presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Continue reading

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Op-Ed, Patt Morrison Asks: Alan Alda — LA Times

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Movies and novels about scientists tend to trade on the socially inept genius who can win a Nobel Prize but not the girl, and on science itself being inscrutable and mysterious. Real science is nothing like that, but how do we know that if scientists can’t tell us? Alan Alda, the actor, writer and lover of science, has a university center in his name that’s committed to teaching scientists how to describe their work to the rest of us. He’s taking that message to science’s inner sanctum – Caltech – on Wednesday, April 6, and doing the same right now, right here. Continue reading

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Alan Alda on the art of science communication: ‘I want to tell you a story’

Alan Alda has a passion for talking about science. Photo credit: World Science Festival New York.

Original story by the The Conversation US can be found here Original story by Will J. Grant and Rod Lamberts Original story published: March 8, 2016 Alan Alda is known to many people as the actor in the U.S. television series M.A.S.H and later in The West Wing. But … Continue reading

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Alda Center Welcomes First International #scicomm Affiliate

-Original story by Australian National University can be found here.
-Original story published: Feb. 22, 2016
-Australian National University joins the Alan Alda Center as its 16th affiliate to encourage science communication. Continue reading

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Alda Center Welcomes New Director, Expands Internationally

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-Original story by Stony Brook University Happenings can be found here.
-Original story published: Feb. 19, 2016
-Laura Lindenfeld joins the Alan Alda Center as its new director. Continue reading

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Improv for scientists: Alan Alda teaches better communication — The Today Show

-Featured video can be found on the Today Show here
-Reporter: Sheinelle Jones
-Original story published: Dec. 29, 2015
-The Today Show featured Alda Center Associate Director, Dr. Christine O’Connell, and SBU graduate students, Wendy Hom, Steven Jaret and Colin West, on their experience with the Alda Center’s science communication classes. Continue reading

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How to Tell an Engaging Story of Scientific Discovery — Scientific American

-By Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, Improvisation Program Director at the Alan Alda Center
-The story below is a copy of the original story in Scientific American available here
-Original story published: Dec. 10, 2015 Continue reading

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The Alan Alda Center in Medicine on the Midway — Fall 2015

-By University of Chicago, Biological Sciences Division
-The pages below are from the full issue of Medicine on the Midway — Fall 2015.
-The full issue is available here.
-Original issue published in Fall 2015.
-The Alan Alda Center’s affiliation with the University of Chicago Medicine is featured in the Biological Sciences Division’s latest issue of its science journal, Medicine on the Midway. Read about the science communication workshops the Alda Center has done with the university’s scientists! Continue reading

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These Science Students Learn to Think on Their Feet — Science Friday

-The story below is a copy of the original story here in Science Friday
-Original story published: Nov. 27, 2015
Alan Alda and Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, Improv Program Director at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, discuss on the radio how improv enhances communication. Continue reading

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What improv could teach newsrooms — Columbia Journalism Review

Photo of Amanda Hirsch by Jared Goralnick.

-By Josh Stearns
-Original story can be found on Columbia Journalism Review here.
-Original story published: Nov. 24, 2015
-Improv helps journalists improve their listening skills so they can make deeper connections with the public Continue reading

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Which scientists can winningly explain a flame, time, sleep, color, or sound to 11-year-olds? — Physics Today

-By Steven T. Corneliussen
-The story below is a copy of the original story by Physics Today available here.
-Original story published: Nov. 24, 2015
The Flame Challenge encourages scientists to explain complex scientific concepts in a way that’s interesting and understanble for 11-year-olds Continue reading

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(Video) Alan Alda discusses the 2016 Flame Challenge on Canada AM TV news

-The original video can be found on Canada AM here.
-Original video published: Nov. 23, 2015
Alan Alda discusses on Canada AM the resounding question for the 2016 Flame Challenge, “What is Sound?” Continue reading

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Clear Science Education, as Judged by 11-Year-Olds — The Wall Street Journal

-By Ron Winslow
-The story below is a copy of the original story here in The Wall Street Journal
-Original story published: Nov. 6, 2015
-A profile of The Flame Challenge, which answers questions curious 11-year-olds ask about the mysteries of science. For the 2016 contest, scientists will explain “What is Sound?” in a way that’s both informative and engaging. Continue reading

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Alan Alda issues latest science challenge: What is sound? — The AP

-By The AP
-The story below is a copy of the original story here in The AP
-Original story published: Nov. 2, 2015
Alan Alda announces the resounding question for the Flame Challenge 2016 Continue reading

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The Alan Alda Center helps 2015 iBiology Young Scientist Series winners’ science communication

Congratulations to the five winners of the 2015 iBiology Young Scientist Series. In addition to winning the contest, the participants were flown to the Alan Alda Center for two days of training in our communications methods. They participated in workshops … Continue reading

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