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Tue Dec 11, 2012, 05:51 AM

Alan Alda poses question in new contest for scientists: What is time? [View all]

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) Professor Alan Alda has a homework assignment for scientists. Yes, that Alan Alda.

The actor known for portraying Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce on the TV show "MASH" and more recent guest shots on NBC's "30 Rock" is also a visiting professor at New York's Stony Brook University school of journalism and a founder of the school's Center for Communicating Science.

The center is sponsoring an international contest for scientists asking them to explain in terms a sixth-grader could understand: "What is time?"

Alda is well-known for his affinity for science and is the longtime host of PBS' "Scientific American Frontiers." He said it is vital for society to have a better understanding of science, and puts much of the onus on scientists to better explain their work.

"There's hardly an issue we deal with today that isn't affected by science," Alda said. "I've even heard from a number of people in Congress that they often don't understand what scientists are talking about when they go to Washington to testify, and these are the people who make the decisions about funding and policy."

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/alan-alda-asks-scientists-explain-whats-time#overlay-context=article/new-tests-could-hamper-food-outbreak-detection

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