CHEM 116
Chemistry and Physics of Cooking Spring 2015
Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning
This is not the current course catalog

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Cooking is a creative and artistic process, but it is based on fundamental chemical and physical principles. In this course, which is intended for students who do not plan to major in the natural sciences, we explore these scientific principles and their application to the kitchen. We draw on edible examples such as chemical bonding and intermolecular forces (salting, emulsification, and spherification), acid-base chemistry (leavening, making jam, and macaroni and cheese), kinetics and thermodynamics (cooking styles and times), states of matter (carbonation, ices, foams, and gels), types of chemical reactions (baking bread, grilling vegetables, tenderizing meat), and energy transfer (kitchen equipment and gadgets). The kitchen is a laboratory–in the classroom, we carry out experiments to demonstrate and to test these scientific concepts. This course also considers the science behind contemporary ideas in cooking known as “modernist cuisine” and/or “molecular gastronomy”. Bon appetit!
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 70
Expected: 70
Class#: 3846
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly quizzes and problem sets, two exams, and a paper
Prerequisites: none, but students who have not taken high school chemistry should consult the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: seniors and juniors
Distributions: Division III Quantitative/Formal Reasoning

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