PARTICIPANTS: Alexandra Horowitz, Lawrence Rosenblum, Max Tegmark
PROGRAM DATE: Sunday, June 2, 2013

What Is Time? When you’re having fun, time flies, but when you’re bored, time moves like molasses. Do animals experience time like we do? How about time travel? Is it possible? What did Einstein figure out about time? Experts on physics, psychology and animal cognition take a crack at answering these complex questions with the help of actor and science lover Alan Alda and an audience full of curious kids like you.

This program is in association with the Flame Challenge, an annual contest held by Alan Alda and Stony Brook University’s Center for Communicating Science. The winner of the 2013 Flame Challenge, “What is Time?” was announced at the end of the program.

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Alan Alda
Actor, Author, Director

Alan Alda, a seven-time Emmy Award–winner, played Hawkeye Pierce and wrote many of the episodes on the classic TV series M*A*S*H, and appeared in continuing roles on ER, The West Wing, 30 Rock, and The Blacklist. He has starred in, written, and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator. 

His interest in science led to his hosting the award-winning PBS series Scientific American Frontiers for 11 years, on which he interviewed hundreds of scientists.  Also on PBS he hosted The Human Spark, winning the 2010 Kavli Science Journalism Award, and Brains on Trial in 2013. On Broadway, he appeared as the physicist Richard Feynman in the play QED. He is the author of the play Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie. He has won the National Science Board’s “Public Service Award,” the Scientific American “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and the American Chemical Society Award for “Public Service,” among others.  He is a Visiting Professor at Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.



Alexandra Horowitz is a professor of psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University and author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know and On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes. The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard conducts research on a wide range of topics, including, lately: dog olfaction; inter-species play behavior; and attributions of secondary emotions to dogs. In addition to many scholarly articles relating to dog behavior and cognition, she writes regularly for The New York Times and other publications.


Lawrence Rosenblum is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and author of See What I’m Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses. He is an award winning teacher of perceptual, cognitive, and introductory psychology. Rosenblum has published more than forty journal articles and book chapters on audiovisual speech perception, face perception, and general auditory perception. He has been the recipient of multiple National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health grants for his research on lipreading and multimodal speech integration. He is on the editorial boards of multiple journals and has been on review panels for the National Institute of Mental Health. His research has been featured in The Economist, Scientific American, The Los Angeles Times, The Toronto Star, National Public Radio, and local and national television.

Max Tegmark
Physicist, Author

Known as “Mad Max” for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, Max Tegmark’s scientific interests range from precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality. He is author or coauthor of more than two hundred technical papers, twelve of which have been cited more than five hundred times. He has been featured in dozens of science documentaries, and his work with the SDSS collaboration on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year: 2003.” He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a physics professor at MIT.