Alda Center for Science Communication also brings training program to university

Actor, director and writer Alan Alda will give a lecture titled "Helping the Public Get Beyond a Blind Date with Science" at the University of Vermont on Monday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Grand Maple Ballroom in the Davis Center.

The lecture, part of the Dan and Carole Burack President’s Distinguished Lecture Series, is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Doors will open at 3:15. 

Alda, a longtime science advocate with extensive experience training scientists in communications, won the National Science Board’s Public Service Award in 2006 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Scientific American in 2013 for helping advance public understanding of science.

Alda’s interest in science and science communications is long standing. In addition to his well known roles in M*A*S*H and West Wing, Alda hosted PBS’ Scientific American Frontiers from 1993 to 2005. After conducting hundreds of interviews for the program, he became dedicated to helping scientists tell their own stories with clarity and vividness. He helped found the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York and has helped lead workshops in communicating science at major universities around the country. He has written plays about both Albert Einstein and Marie Curie and has won seven Emmy Awards and six Golden Globes.

Talk launches UVM program with Alda Center

The talk marks the launch of a relationship UVM has entered into with the Alda Center for Communicating Science, based at Stony Brook University. The center’s mission is to enhance understanding of science by training the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials, the media and others outside their own discipline.

In addition to the inaugural talk by Alda, the Alda Center will hold a day-long communications workshop with faculty in the STEM and social sciences disciplines on Feb. 3, the first of several workshops it will hold annually at UVM. Future sessions will include more faculty in the sciences and broaden to other disciplines, including the humanities. As part of the new relationship, UVM is also in discussion with the Alda Center for possible semester-long communications classes developed for graduate students.

The Burack lecture is hosted by UVM’s Writing in the Disciplines Program, the Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VT EPSCoR) and the university’s Office of the Vice President for Research. A reception in the Fireplace Lounge at the Davis Center will immediately follow the lecture at about 5:30.

Overflow seating and live streaming

The lecture will be live streamed in the Livak Ballroom across the hall on the fourth floor of the Davis Center. Those who are not seated in the Grand Maple Ballroom are welcome to watch the live stream in overflow seating.

The lecture will also be available via live streaming online:


Free parking will be available in the Gutterson Garage on Spear Street. Shuttle service will be provided from the oval outside of Patrick Gymnasium to the Davis Center oval beginning at 3 p.m. Please allow extra time to arrive, park, and walk or take the shuttle to the Davis Center.


Jeffrey R. Wakefield