Actor And Visiting Professor Alan Alda To Be Honored At 'Stars Of Stony Brook Gala 2013' April 24 At Chelsea Piers

Actor And Visiting Professor Alan Alda To Be Honored At 'Stars Of Stony Brook
                     Gala 2013' April 24 At Chelsea Piers

PR Newswire

STONY BROOK, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2013

STONY BROOK, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stony Brook
University's 2013 "Stars of Stony Brook" Gala will honor one of its own this
year, actor-director-writer-educator and six-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award
winner Alan Alda, on Wednesday, April 24 at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New
York City.

Mr. Alda is being honored for his central role in creating and growing The
Center for Communicating Science (CCS) at Stony Brook University. A vital new
approach to education, The Center works to enhance the understanding of
science by helping train the next generation of scientists and health
professionals to communicate more effectively - via techniques including
improvisational theater workshops - with the public, public officials, the
media, and others outside their own discipline. Since 2009, Mr. Alda has
served as a founding board member, frequent visiting professor and media
ambassador for CCS, which operates under the auspices of Stony Brook's School
of Journalism and its founding dean, Howard Schneider.

"As people increasingly become aware of the challenges facing our world,
scientists must be able to communicate effectively so those issues are better
understood," said Richard L. Gelfond, CEO of IMAX Corporation, Chairman of the
Stony Brook Foundation Board of Trustees and Co-Chair with James H. Simons of
the Stars of Stony Brook Gala. "The Center for Communicating Science is the
single most important resource working in this arena today. It was very much
the brainchild of Mr. Alda, and continues to be powered by his vision, passion
and on-going personal involvement."

Mr. Alda has had a lifelong passion for science. After interviewing more than
700 scientists in his role as host of the PBS series Scientific American
Frontiers, he realized how important it is for scientists to possess strong
communication skills. To meet this need, he played an important role in
creating Stony Brook's Center for Communicating Science and remains actively
involved in its work, including championing workshops that use improvisational
theater games to help scientists communicate more directly and personally.

"We are truly honored and privileged to be recognizing Alan Alda and The
Center for Communicating Science at this year's gala," said Stony Brook
President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. "Alan represents the best in us, a man
who is using his experience and public profile for a groundbreaking and
sorely-needed educational first that can benefit all of mankind."

The Center for Communicating Science (CCS) was established in 2009 at Stony
Brook University, part of the State University of New York, with the
cooperation of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory. It is located within the Stony Brook School of Journalism, with a
multidisciplinary steering committee of science faculty members.

CCS works to enhance the understanding of science by helping train the next
generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more
effectively with the public, the press and the many decision-makers outside of
their own discipline.Central to its mission is the belief that scientists
have a responsibility to share the meaning and implications of their work, and
that an engaged public encourages sound public decision-making. In addition,
the ability to communicate directly and vividly can enhance scientists' career
prospects, helping them secure funding, collaborate across disciplines,
compete for positions, and serve as effective teachers.

CCS offers a range of instructional programs for science graduate students and
scientists, including workshops, conferences, lectures, and coaching
opportunities, as well as credit-bearing courses offered through the School of

The Center's groundbreaking "Improvisation for Scientists" is a three-hour
workshop spearheaded by Mr. Alda. The goal of schooling scientists in improv
theater techniques is not to turn them into actors, but to free them to talk
about their work more spontaneously and directly, to pay dynamic attention to
their listeners and to connect personally with their audience. Now in its
second year, "The Flame Challenge" presents a challenge to scientists around
the globe, to communicate complex science in a way that will interest and
inform an 11-year-old. The question put to the worldwide science community in
2012, "What is a flame?" garnered participation of over 800 scientists and was
ultimately judged by 10,000 11-year-olds around the world. The 2013 campaign,
which poses the complex question "What is time?" has more than doubled with
20,000 students participating worldwide. As in 2012, the winner of this year's
competition will be announced by Mr. Alda at The World Science Festival in

CCS is today also working to develop new approaches to curriculum and
establish a clearinghouse for best practices and a supportive network of
institutions working to improve public communication of science. For more
information, visit

The Stars of Stony Brook Gala begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30 PM at
Chelsea Piers, followed by dinner at 7:30 PM. To reserve tickets, inquire
about sponsorship, or for more information, call 212.245.6570, ext. 15 or

About the Stony Brook Foundation

The Stony Brook Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation
established in 1965 as the University's sole repository for philanthropic
contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations, and other
organizations in support of Stony Brook University. The Foundation administers
the University's scholarship funds. Every dollar donated for scholarships goes
directly to scholarships--no administrative fee is charged on scholarship
accounts. For more information about contributing to our scholarship funds or
creating an endowed named undergraduate scholarship or graduate fellowship,
please call the Advancement Office at (631) 632-6300 or visit

This news release was issued on behalf of Newswise(TM). For more information,

Media Contacts:
Sal Cataldi/Kaitlin Lindsey - Cataldi Public Relations
(212) 244.9797 -

SOURCE Stony Brook University
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