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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Flame Challenge UK finalist

Editor's Note: The Flame Challenge is a competition set up by Alan Alda to explain the science of a flame to a jury of 11-year-old students ( Out of the 14 entrants from the UK, the entry of Larry Li and Villian Lo from Cambridge was shortlisted as finalists.

Finalist entry by By Larry Li and Villian Lo

 The idea to create a comic strip came out of a brainstorming session between me and my girlfriend - who, fortuitously, is an architect and can therefore draw very well. We were looking for neat ways to combine words and graphics, something simple but not too simple, and something that was not a video because we wanted teachers to be able to print the thing out and stick it up on their walls. So that's how our comic strip idea was born. At first, we had over 15 frames, with lots of atomic detail and even a bit about global warming. In the end, though, we shortened it to four frames in order to keep the message short and simple. To resonate with the target age group (11-year-olds), we also developed a new cartoon character: Junior Atom. In the last frame, she is seen sweating and wearing sunglasses owing to the heat and light from the flame. Incidentally, that photo of the flame came straight out of my PhD work with Dr. Matthew Juniper. For those interested, some of that work will be presented at the upcoming symposium in Warsaw, Poland.

By Larry Li and Villian Lo, Cambridge,

1 comment:

  1. Note: Brian Lambson from the Berkeley Science Review would had voted for this finalist.