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First a Flame, Now Time

Alan Alda's own childhood experience provided the inspiration for a challenge he posed to scientists earlier this year: to describe a flame such that an 11-year-old child can understand what it is. Now, a new question drawn from more than 300 submissions asks scientists to describe what time is, the Associated Press reports. In addition to his acting work, Alda is a founder of Stony Brook University's Center for Communicating Science.

Such an exercise not only explains scientific concepts to kids and laypeople, but also helps scientists better communicate their work. "This contest probably gives people the impression that it's a teaching tool for kids," Alda says. "That's a happy by-product, but it really is a tool for scientists to take a complex question and explain it in a way the rest of us can understand."

The Scan

Support for Moderna Booster

An FDA advisory committee supports authorizing a booster for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, CNN reports.

Testing at UK Lab Suspended

SARS-CoV-2 testing at a UK lab has been suspended following a number of false negative results.

J&J CSO to Step Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Stoffels will be stepping down as chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

Science Papers Present Proteo-Genomic Map of Human Health, Brain Tumor Target, Tool to Infer CNVs

In Science this week: gene-protein-disease map, epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights potential therapeutic target for gliomas, and more