Flame Challenge Rules

The aim of this contest is to encourage scientists to communicate complex material simply, clearly and engagingly. Entries will be screened for accuracy by scientists and then judged by 11-year-olds.

The rules are simple:

1. Answer the question in a way an 11-year-old will find instructive, interesting, and maybe even fun.

2. The contest is open only to scientists. For this contest, we define a scientist as someone who has, or is in the process of getting, a graduate degree in a science (including health sciences, engineering and mathematics), or who is employed doing scientific work, or who is retired from doing scientific work.

3. Entries can be submitted in writing, as videos, or as graphics. The contest has two categories– Written and Visual – and entries will be judged within their category. We plan to name a winner in each category. For entries that cross the lines, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science will assign them to a category.

4. Written entries must be less than 300 words, and videos must be shorter than 5 minutes.

5. Answers must be in English.

6. Entries must be the original work of the person submitting them.

For answers to frequently asked questions – and some helpful hints — see FAQ for Scientists.