Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (physics)
Learn how physics and cooking are interconnected.
Top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how traditional and modernist cooking techniques can illuminate basic principles in chemistry, physics, and engineering. Learn about elasticity, viscosity, mayonnaise, baking, and more!
2-3 hours per week
What You'll Learn
In this course, which investigates physical transformations in food, we will be visited by world-famous chefs who use a number of different styles and techniques in their cooking. Each chef will demonstrate how he or she prepares delicious and interesting creations, and we will explore how fundamental scientific principles make them possible.
Topics will include:
• How cooking changes food texture
• Making emulsions and foams
• Phase changes in cooking
You will also have the opportunity to become an experimental scientist in your very own laboratory — your kitchen! By following along with the recipes of the week, taking precise measurements, and making skillful observations, you will learn to think like both a chef and a scientist. This practice will prepare you for the final project, when you will design and perform an experiment to analyze a recipe of your choice from a scientific perspective.
The lab is certainly one of the most unique components of this course—after all, in what other science course can you eat your experiments?
The course will be delivered via edX and connect learners around the world. By the end of the course, participants will learn:
- The chemical and physical principles that underlie everyday cooking and haute cuisine techniques
- How chefs can use enzymes to make foods that would otherwise be impossible
- How to use the scientific method to learn how a recipe works, and find ways you could improve it
- How to think like a chef AND a scientist
Ways to take this course
When you enroll in this course, you will have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate or Auditing the Course.
A Verified Certificate costs $249 and provides unlimited access to full course materials, activities, tests, and forums. At the end of the course, learners who earn a passing grade can receive a certificate.
Alternatively, learners can Audit the course for free and have access to select course material, activities, tests, and forums. Please note that this track does not offer a certificate for learners who earn a passing grade.