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Actor Alan Alda’s father wanted him to become a doctor, but it wasn’t meant to be. “I failed chemistry really disastrously … ” Alda says. “I really didn’t want to be a doctor; I wanted to be a writer and an actor.”

Which is exactly what happened. But Alda didn’t leave science behind entirely. His new book, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?, is all about communication — and miscommunication — between scientists and civilians.

Alan Alda’s Experiment: Helping Scientists Learn To Talk To The Rest Of Us