The rank of Honorary Fellow is conferred upon a person who is not a member of the Society but who has achieved eminence in the field of technical communication.
Award Citation: For your long-standing and continuing effort to emphasize and promote the importance of good scientific communication and teach scientists to communicate clearly and simply, with both The Flame Challenge and the Stony Brook University Center for Communicating Science.
Alan Alda, a seven-time Emmy Award–winner, played Hawkeye Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H and appeared in continuing roles on ER, The West Wing, 30 Rock, and The Blacklist. He has 33 Emmy nominations as actor, writer, and director, and is a Television Hall of Fame inductee. On film, he has starred in, as well as written and directed, many features, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator. He has appeared often on the Broadway stage, where he received three Tony nominations.
His long-time interest in science and in promoting a greater public understanding of science led to his hosting the awardwinning PBS series Scientific American Frontiers for eleven years, on which he interviewed hundreds of scientists from around the world. In 2010, he hosted a science series on PBS called The Human Spark. On Broadway, he appeared as the physicist Richard Feynman in the play QED. In 2002, he had the honor of giving the commencement talk at Caltech, where Feynman himself had delivered the commencement address 28 years earlier.
He is a visiting professor at Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where he is helping develop innovative programs that enable scientists to communicate more effectively with the public. Together with Stony Brook University, they host the annual Flame Challenge, which challenges scientists from around the world to communicate complex science in ways that would interest and enlighten an 11-year-old.
See his video acceptance of the award below.