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EP 96: Alana Alda On Making Scientists & Doctors Better Communicators

My guest today is six-time Emmy and Globe Award-winning actor, director and writer Alan Alda. Science and medicine have influenced his acting in roles like Army Surgeon Hawkeye Pierce on the hit TV series MASH but now he’s using his art to help scientists and doctors become better communicators. He discusses the need for scientists to get better at explaining their very important work to the rest of us and how he’s using improv to help them do just that. He talks about teaching empathy to doctors and challenging scientists to explain a flame to an 11-year-old. Plus we discuss his encounter with a doctor who saved his life in the mountains of Chile, the complicated love life of Albert Einstein, and the medical accuracy of all those surgeries he performed on MASH.

If you enjoyed my talk with Alan Alda then I encourage you to visit and support the great work he's doing at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. You can also visit to keep up with the latest from Alan Alda and follow him on Twitter at @alanalda. Finally, you might enjoy his highly entertaining autobiographies Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself and Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, and Other Things I've Learned available on Amazon or for audiobook at

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