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Cut out the jargon: Alan Alda center at NY college teaches scientists to keep it simple

  • d64d06f69bc2940e300f6a70670028f9.jpg

    In this Friday, April 26, 2013 photo, actor Alan Alda listens during an interview at Stony Brook University, on New York's Long Island. The film and television star is trying to encourage scientists of all disciplines to ditch the jargon and speak in plain English. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (The Associated Press)

  • 11df67f99bc3940e300f6a706700b09a.jpg

    In this Friday, April 26, 2013 photo, actor Alan Alda addresses a Communicating Science class on the campus of Stony Brook University, on New York's Long Island. The film and television star is trying to encourage scientists of all disciplines to ditch the jargon and speak in plain English. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (The Associated Press)

  • 211618719bc2940e300f6a706700ef7f.jpg

    In this Friday, April 26, 2013 photo, actor Alan Alda listens during an interview at Stony Brook University, on New York's Long Island. The film and television star is trying to encourage scientists of all disciplines to ditch the jargon and speak in plain English. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (The Associated Press)

  • 5cc8f4729bc2940e300f6a706700ff3a.jpg

    In this Friday, April 26, 2013 photo, actor Alan Alda speaks during an interview at Stony Brook University, on New York's Long Island. The film and television star is trying to encourage scientists of all disciplines to ditch the jargon and speak in plain English. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (The Associated Press)

  • 619a13dc9bc2940e300f6a706700acc0.jpg

    In this Friday, April 26, 2013 photo, actor Alan Alda speaks during an interview at Stony Brook University, on New York's Long Island. The film and television star is trying to encourage scientists of all disciplines to ditch the jargon and speak in plain English. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) (The Associated Press)

Alan Alda wants scientists to cut out the jargon.

The "M.A.S.H." actor who also hosted the long-running PBS series "Scientific American Frontiers" helped start a center on communicating science at Stony Brook University. Its mission: to teach scientists how to get their points across more clearly.

The Long Island college renamed the 4-year-old center for Alda last week.

Alda, who is 77, serves as a visiting professor of journalism at Stony Brook. He does not teach a regular course but frequently speaks at conferences and workshops at the center.

Alda says explaining science using clear, simple language can benefit society in many ways. It can help lawmakers make better decisions on scientific funding, help doctors explain operations to their patients and help consumers know what's in the food they buy.

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