Actor challenges scientists: Explain sleep to kids

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Actor-turned-part-time professor Alan Alda has a new challenge for scientists: Explain sleep to an 11-year-old.

The TV and film star best known for his role in the 1970s sitcom "M.A.S.H." has had a lifelong interest in science.

The New York native teaches at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University on Long Island.

He started the annual "Flame Challenge" contest in 2011. It asks scientists to explain complex concepts in ways a child can understand.

The first year sought an answer to "What is a flame?" That was followed by challenges to explain time and color.

Scientists have until Feb. 13 to submit their answers about sleep in writing, video or graphics.

The winning written and video or graphic entries will receive $1,000 cash prizes.