Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science

Top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine can illuminate basic principles in physics and engineering, and vice versa.

About The Course

*Note - This is an Archived course*

This is a past/archived course. At this time, you can only explore this course in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of this course may not be active, but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. Make sure to check for reruns of this course. 

During each week of the course, you will watch as chefs reveal the secrets behind some of their most famous culinary creations — often right in their own restaurants. Inspired by such cooking mastery, the Harvard team will then explain, in simple and sophisticated ways, the science behind the recipe.

Topics will include: soft matter materials, such as emulsions, illustrated by aioli; elasticity, exemplified by the done-ness of a steak; and diffusion, revealed by the phenomenon of spherification, the culinary technique pioneered by Ferran Adrià.

To help you make the link between cooking and science, an “equation of the week” will capture the core scientific concept being explored. You will also have the opportunity to be an experimental scientist in your very own laboratory — your kitchen. By following along with the engaging recipe of the week, taking measurements, and making observations, you will learn to think both like a cook and a scientist. The lab is also one of the most unique components of this course — after all, in what other science course do you get to eat your lab?

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.

WAYS TO TAKE THIS EDX COURSE FOR FREE: Simply Audit this Course

Can't commit to all of the lectures, assignments, and tests? Audit this course and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum. You can decide what and how much you want to do. This option is free to all.

Try for a Certificate

Participate in all of the course's activities and abide by the edX Honor Code. If your work is satisfactory, you'll receive a certificate to showcase your achievement. This option is free to all.

WAYS TO TAKE THIS COURSE FOR A FEE: Earn Harvard Credit

Optionally, you can enroll in the traditional, semester-long course at Harvard Extension School. Courses are offered in fall or spring semesters, or both. You have the option to enroll for undergraduate or graduate credit and will receive grades on a Harvard transcript. Learn more about the course on the Harvard Extension School website.

 

Recommended Background

None. This is an introductory course.