Online Courses on Science and Food

Now, how was the HarvardX course?1

Science and cooking – HarvardX online course Screenshot
Screenshot from HarvardX online course on “Science and Cooking”

One of my first posts mentioned a free online course on “Science and Cooking” from Harvard University. I did participate in the course and found it quite entertaining and rewarding, although I feel that I am not part of the main target group. The course combined science lectures from physicists with demos from famous chefs. Further experimental parts to be carried out at home in the own kitchen was used together with homeworks to conduct own scientific experiments and understand the lectures key messages. In essence, the course used every day cooking to teach basics of physics, chemistry, and biochemistry to non-scientist or amateur scientists. I think that’s a pretty good concept because it directly relates the scientific principles to phenomena we frequently encounter when preparing or eating food. For a scientist (=me) the science was still often fun to listen too in a (again: for me) unusual context, but I didn’t learn much new basic science stuff2. However, I greatly enjoyed the demos of the chefs and some of the lab tasks. Overall I can definitely recommend trying this course out if you’re interested in the science of food (and if it will be held again of course). It also was fairly professional, in particular given that the inscription was completely free!

Future online courses on Food and Science

Since I enjoyed my past online course, I started to look more closely for what else there is. edX, the platform of the “Science & Cooking” course has many other courses to offer, some of which sound pretty interesting. Not so much stuff on food though.
Instead I found a number of food related university online courses on “Coursera”.
What first arouse my interest was a course on “The Science of Gastronomy” from Hong Kong University. Their program looks good… But what’s that???
I don’t want so spoil it.
Have a look yourself!

Seen it?
Would you also call that clownish?
(now I’m really eager to follow this…just to know what’s going to happen)

Then there is the “New Nordic Diet”. It might not sound very fascinating at first, but it made me think of the Nordic Food Lab and their great blog. Looking at the course program it indeed goes into the same direction, generally proposing a new way to use mostly regional ingredients for a sustainable and healthy diet.

Let’s see how much (and maybe more importantly: what kind of) fun those courses will be…

  1. I kind of advertised it some month ago. Well, it’s not officially finished, but all lectures are done and all homework and lab tasks are given. []
  2. Again, beeing a biophysicist myself, I was certainly not part of the main target group. So that’s not really surprising. Yet it might still have made me more aware of some every day examples I wasn’t aware of! []

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  1. Sheraz Khan | commented on 4. March 2014 , 13:55

    You should also check out Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This! He’s a physical chemist at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. Short chapters all about the physics and chemistry of foodstuffs. (though, perhaps a bit basic).

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