Food and physics

Students show final projects at Science and Cooking Fair 2022

Evan Casalino and James Mooney participate in the longest noodle competition

Evan Casalino and James Mooney take a break from their experiments in layered cocktails to participate in the longest noodle competition. (Eliza Grinnell/SEAS)

Students in “GENED1104: Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science” recently displayed their final projects at the annual Science and Cooking Fair at the Harvard Northwest Science Building. The course, which began in 2010, is taught by Pia Sӧrensen, Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and David Weitz, Mallingkrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics. Students explored physics and chemistry concepts in the context of cooking, such as the done-ness of steak as an example of elasticity, the thermodynamics of heat transfer in a barbecue, and the crystallization required to make chocolate.

For their final projects, students were tasked with delving into the scientific concepts of a recipe or culinary invention or designing a scientific solution to a culinary problem. Judges for the 76 student projects included chef and restaurant owner Tracy Chang, food science author Harold McGee and culinary researcher Dave Arnold.

Maycee Wieczorek with her final project at the Science and Cooking Fair

Mechanical engineering concentrator Maycee Wieczorek, A.B. ’24, created schematics for an affordable tool that would allow home chefs to measure the hardness, cohesiveness, springiness, and chewiness of their culinary creations. (Eliza Grinnell/SEAS)

Yooni Park and Matthew Ho with their final project at the Science and Cooking Fair

Computer science and psychology concentrator Yooni Park, A.B. ’22, and Matthew Ho, A.B. ’23, experimented with creating new flavors of jello using various concentrations of tea, soda, and fruit juices. (Eliza Grinnell/SEAS)

Danny Denenberg and Wilson Huang with their final project at the Science and Cooking Fair.

Danny Denenberg, A.B. '26, and visiting student Wilson Huang discovered a correlation between mindfulness during food preparation and the look and taste of the resulting dishes. (Eliza Grinnell/SEAS)

Ice cream that doesn't melt

Francis Puente, A.B. '25, May Olibale, A.B. '25,  and Anne Fletcher, A.B. '25, experimented with acids, thickeners, and cream cheese in order to create a stable ice cream dessert that doesn't melt. (Eliza Grinnell/SEAS)

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