May 01, 2013
By Jane Brown
Alan Alda wants scientists to cut out the jargon. The actor most famous for his character Hawkeye Pierce in the long running TV series MASH also hosted the long-running PBS series “Scientific American Frontiers”.
Now 77 year old Alda has helped start a centre on communicating science at Stony Brook University on Long Island. Its mission: to teach scientists how to get their points across more clearly. In fact, the college has renamed the centre in Alan Alda’s name.
Alda serves as a visiting professor of journalism at Stony Brook. He does not teach a regular course but frequently speaks at conferences and workshops.
Alda says explaining science using clear, simple language can benefit society in many ways. It can help lawmakers make better decisions on scientific funding, help doctors explain operations to their patients and help consumers know what’s in the food they buy.