“What is Color?”

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We challenged scientists to take part in the 2014 Flame Challenge and answer a vibrant question asked by 11-year-olds from around the country:

You can download the video by clicking here.

What is Color?

what is color2It’s a fundamental question that spans the sciences. It can be answered from the perspective of physics, chemistry, psychology, even from a geological or oceanographic perspective. To choose this year’s challenge, The Alda Center collected more than 800 questions from children from all over the world. Many different questions were asked about color, including “Is my blue their blue?” “Does everyone see color the same?” and, even one of the most classic childhood questions, “Why is the sky blue?”

Click here to read about the 2014 Flame Challenge in the media.


The Winners

Written Category Winner
melanie-golobMelanie Golob first started to like science in high school; She had a few great science teachers who were passionate about the subject. She had a hard time picking a major in college because she didn’t want to focus on just one area of science. She chose biochemistry, because it combined multiple fields of science into one. After graduating, She worked with an organization called Mad Science, traveling to classrooms and fairs to show young kids that laboratory science can be fun. She started teaching while doing research in graduate school at UCLA, and fell in love with the idea of helping communicate science and research. After grad school, She taught summer school chemistry to a group of students who had previously failed. The most interesting thing she learned from that class was that many of the students just needed the concepts explained in a different way in order to understand them. Her current work is with a company called Doctor Evidence, encouraging clinical-practice guideline developers to use the most current medical evidence in writing guidelines. She also communicates science every day to her almost-4 year old, who asks questions such as “Why does the sun go down?” and “Why do plants need light to grow?”
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Visual Category Winner
dianna cowernDianna Cowern received her BS in physics from MIT. While there, she worked on a dark matter detection experiment and on the electric vehicle team. She received a fellowship to study low-metallicity stars–the oldest stars in the universe–at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. During that time, she started her own educational channel on YouTube called Physics Girl. Her passion for outreach came from growing up on the small island of Kauai where there were limited opportunities to explore science beyond the classroom. She now works in the UCSD physics department as an outreach coordinator where she aims to reach today’s youth and spark curiosity through online science media!

Enjoy the live-stream of the World Science Festival awards ceremony, hosted by Alan Alda, meet the winners and hear a little bit about what influenced their entries.


Want to see all of our “What is Color?” finalists? Click here.