Back in March of this year, actor and writer Alan Alda issued a challenge in an editorial for Science Magazine: explain what a flame is to an 11 year old.
The winner of the challenge was announced recently as Ben Ames, a Ph.D. student studying quantum optics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. The video created by Mr. Ames is nothing short of incredible. It’s been a long time since I was 11 years old, and I’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge since then. However, it’s fair to say that I was learning something new for 95% of the time that I spent watching Mr. Ames’ winning entry, and the other 5% of the time my 11 year old self was thoroughly entertained.
Chances are you have reached your current state as a mature adult without ever fully understanding what a flame is. Sure, you’ve lit a match or a campfire before, but do you really know what’s happening when you do that? Thanks to Mr. Ames’ video there are now a whole bunch of 11 year old kids running around who do know, and they’ll be coming for your job one day. Take seven minutes, watch the video, and learn something that will satisfy that curiosity that you’ve forgotten you ever had.
Ben Ames’ winning entry: What is a Flame