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History of the Alda Center

Alan AldaActor, author, and activist Alan Alda’s lifelong passion for science spurred him to host the PBS show “Scientific American Frontiers.” On the show, he used his theater experience to build relationships with scientists. In talking to him, they explained their work in ways that Alan and the show’s viewers could understand.

By building personal connections, Alan got scientists out of lecture mode and into conversation.

Alan wondered why scientists had a hard time talking to non-experts about their research. He thought exposing them to improvisation might help.

Building on an Idea

In 2009, Stony Brook University opened the Center for Communicating Science, a  collaboration between Alan, Stony Brook, and Stony Brook's School of  Communication and Journalism, with Brookhaven National Laboratory and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

The idea worked. Using applied Improvisational exercises and communication strategies helped scientists share their work and its impact.


More than a Decade of Effective Science Communication

Over more than a decade, faculty have traveled to 40 states and eight other countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, and Scotland.

Our clients come from non-profit organizations, government agencies, industry, and many of the world's best universities, including:

  • Cornell University
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Harvard University
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Rita Allen Foundation
  • U.S. Department of Defense



Our History at a Glance