Flame Challenge Finalists 2014: What Is Color?

The finalists for the 2014 "Flame Challenge" have been selected, three written entries and three visual entries. None of these is my entry, alas, but it was worth a shot.

I watched the videos last night, and it was sort of interesting to compare what ended up working well with the test audience of 11-year-olds to the comments that I got. The main difference between what I did and what got picked wasn't so much in the use of unfamiliar words (the thing that generated comments on my post), but in the use of 11-year-old humor. (To be honest, I kind of hate one of them, because it overdoes the jokey stuff to the point of not actually saying anything meaningful, but I can see how it would play well.) They're also better at video editing than I am, but that's not an especially high bar to clear...

It's sort of interesting to see that all of the finalists hit basically the same points: light is a wave, wavelength is associated with color, your retina contains different types of cells that are sensitive to particular wavelengths. The exact means of getting through all that varied greatly, probably reflecting the background of the people responsible-- my own take is very particular to my optics-guy background, and I'd be a little surprised if one of those isn't by someone with a good deal of biology training.

So, anyway, there you go-- color explained to an 11-year-old. And we'll see what next year's Challenge brings.

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