Bring all your talents to your presentations

What do a cupcake with a birthday candle, Lego blocks, a boxing ring and the devil have in common? Combined by a physicist, they became an interesting way to explain what a flame is to children.

Ben Ames, who is working on his doctorate in quantum optics, won the Center for Communicating Science’s recent Flame Challenge, a contest to answer the question “What is a flame?” so an 11-year-old could understand.

More than 800 entries attempted to explain the concept in forms including essays, songs, poems, graphics and videos. The winning explanation, judged by children, is a 7-minute animated video that concludes with a song.

Although Ames was interested in science from an early age, he also has a background in performing arts and music, so the Flame Challenge allowed him to use a wide variety of his skills and knowledge.

The next time you must explain a complex concept to people who are unfamiliar with the topic, start with simple items or concepts that are familiar to them. Use those elements to build your explanation. Integrate your hobby or other outside interests into your speech and you will be able to bring additional passion to your presentation.

What is the most interesting explanation you have seen or given?


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