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Alan Alda’s Flame Challenge presents: What Is Color?

What is color? It seems like a simple question at first, but when you think about it, the reality of what we’re seeing is a pretty complex situation. Our human eyes sift through a small piece of the vast electromagnetic spectrum and translate it into every color of the rainbow. But there are other animals that see these same wavelengths in different ways, or even see colors beyond what we can perceive! And not all color is dependent on wavelengths of light: the brains of certain people, called synesthetes, work in ways that let them see colors tied to music, words, or other stimuli. Watch as host Alan Alda takes you on a surreal, scientific tour of the spectrum with the help of vision researcher Jay Neitz, along with neuroscientists David Eagleman, Kaitlyn Hova, and Bevil Conway.

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Alan AldaActor, 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. He has starred in, written, and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator.

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Kaitlyn HovaNeuroscientist, Violinist/Composer

Kaitlyn Hova is a neuroscientist performing violinist/composer and the creator of ‘The Synesthesia Network’. Hova has several types of synesthesia, a neurological condition where stimulation of one sense triggers experiences in a second sense.

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Jay NeitzOphthalmologist

Jay Neitz is a vision researcher and professor of ophthalmology at the University of Washington in Seattle. At the Neitz Lab, he explores color vision in primates to better understand the visual system and develop gene therapies for human vision problems.

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David EaglemanNeuroscientist, Author

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, best-selling author, and Guggenheim Fellow who holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

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Bevil ConwayNeuroscientist, Artist

Bevil Conway, originally from Zimbabwe, is an artist and neuroscientist who researches the neural basis for visual behavior, with a focus on color vision, and investigates the relationship between visual processing and visual art.

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