On March 2, Alan Alda asked scientists to answer the question – “What is a flame?” – in a way that an 11-year-old would find intelligible and maybe even fun. By April 2, 822 entries had streamed in.
The germ for this contest came from when Alda, as a curious 11 year old, asked his teacher, “What is a flame?” Her reply, “It’s oxidation” was understandably less than inspiring to the young lad. As we all know, Alda grew up to, among many other things, entertain us for 11 years as Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H. What many people don’t know is that he grew up to also have a passion for explaining science to children.
When Mara Cruz, Online Art Director on UBM Electronics and a contributor to Innovation Generation
, told me about The Flame Challenge
, our first reaction was, “Why can’t we do the same thing for engineering?” And a new contest was born.
We know there are plenty of budding engineers out there eager to learn. Often the adults they meet inspire them, but sometimes adults – with our too-large words and obtuse ways – inadvertently turn kids off. The goal of the "Define Yourself" contest is to counteract that by challenging our readers to explain engineering terms to kids in a way that conveys to them your passion for the field.
So now, we’d like to challenge you the readers of EE Life to define “Engineer.” After verifying the answers for accuracy, we’ll take the best definitions and hand them over to the student readers of Innovation Generation (EE Times
's science, technology, engineering, and math education site). Our precocious bunch of budding engineers will vote on the definition that they find the most understanding and inspirational. Enter your definition for “Engineer” into the comments field, below.