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International contest collaborates with Stony Brook University to explore more effective ways to communicate science to the public.

Stony Brook student Lyl Tomlinson (far right) and competitors in the 2014 FameLab International Final represented their respective nations at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom.

STONY BROOK, NY, WEDNESDAY, March 25, 2015 – The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University is hosting a regional heat of the NASA FameLab Competition, April 16 and 17, 2015 at the Charles B. Wang Center on the Stony Brook campus. Entry into the competition, and reservations to attend the public event, which is free of charge, can be made through the Alan Alda Center.

FameLab is something like American Idol for scientists. Sponsored by NASA in the US, it begins with a preliminary day of competition, coaching and camaraderie that is all about science communication. Early career scientists from diverse scientific disciplines craft a three-minute, PowerPoint-free talk on their research or a related topic and deliver it in a supportive environment to judges who give constructive feedback. Participants will spend the afternoon in a unique workshop with faculty from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, learning two foundational pillars within the Alda Center: Improvisation for Scientists and Distilling Your Message. Finalists will present their talks for the public on Friday, April 17th at 4:30pm, followed by the announcement of the regional winner and audience choice nominee.

Last year, Stony Brook graduate student, Lyl Tomlinson, won the US challenge and came in second internationally when he competed in England in May. 

“Having been a part of a number of science competitions, I think FameLab is always an intellectually fun experience for everyone involved,” said Tomlinson. “Because the presenters get to enjoy making science exciting and accessible, people usually go home knowing more and with a good laugh.” 

Thanks to Mr. Tomlinson’s win and initiative, Stony Brook was selected to run this regional competition.

“This is a great honor and opportunity for Stony Brook students to exercise their skills and prepare to communicate about their research well beyond the reaches of the competition,” said Valeri Lantz-Gefroh, Tomlinson’s collaborator from the Alda Center. “FameLab is a natural fit with the mission of the Alda Center and we are proud to welcome students from other institutions to join us.”

Winners from the regional competitions will advance to the US National Final in April, 2016, and the winner there goes on to compete with peers from around the world at the FameLab International Final in the UK in June, 2016. A total of 25 countries from around the globe participate in the FameLab competition.

For more information on entering the 2015 FameLab competition, please visit the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science website.



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