Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
Science & Cooking Lecture Series
A collaboration between MRSEC faculty, and
world-class chefs for the public

Much to the delight of Science & Cooking veterans, Michael Brenner, Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics and Harvard College Professor, returns to the course and lecture series this year. (Photo by Larissa Zhou.)


Members of the public are invited to attend a series of lectures by world-class chefs and food experts, inspired by the Harvard College General Education course "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter." The lectures, while related, are not a replication of the course content.

2017 – 2018 Chef Lecture Dates

Monday, September 4, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"New Angles on Old Beverages"
Dave Arnold (@CookingIssues), Booker & Dax, author of Liquid Intelligence, host of "Cooking Issues," founder of the Museum of Food and Drink
Harold McGee (@Harold_McGee), author of Curious Cook and On Food and Cooking

Monday, September 11, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"The Science of Risotto"
Lidia Bastianich (@LidiaBastianich), Lidia's Kitchen, Eataly

Monday, September 18, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"The Art of Fermentation"
Sandor Katz (@sandorkraut), author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation

Monday, September 25, 2017
Science Center Hall B, 7 p.m.

"Egg Transitions in Philippine Cooking"
Margarita Forés (@MargaritaFores), Asia's Best Female Chef 2016, Cibo Restaurants, Manila Philippines

Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"Insights from Modernist Bread"
Nathan Myhrvold (@ModCuisine), former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft, author of "Modernist Cuisine"

Monday, October 16, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"The Science of Sugar"
Joanne Chang '91 (@jbchang), Flour Bakery and Café, author of Flour and Flour Too

Monday, October 23, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"Science and Cooking: An Idea That Still Holds Waters"
Bill Yosses (@BillYosses), former White House executive pastry chef, author of The Sweet Spot: Dialing Back Sugar and Amping Up Flavor
Vayu Maini Rekdal (@NOFOKitchen), Young Chefs Program, Ph.D. candidate Harvard University

Monday, October 30, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"Sweet Temperature Range"
Jordi Roca (@jordirocasan), El Celler de Can Roca

Monday, November 6, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"A Menu at Benu: A Look at Texture and Mouthfeel"
Corey Lee, Benu

Monday, November 27, 2017
Science Center Hall C, 7 p.m.

"Avante-Garde, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow"
José Andrés (@chefjoseandres), minibar by José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup

Monday, March 5, 2018
Science Center Hall C, 8 p.m.

"Exploring Deliciousness — Insects in a Gastronomic Context"
Roberto Flore (@robbeflo), Nordic Food Lab

The Harvard College Course

The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Alicia Foundation developed a General Education science course, "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter," which debuted in the fall of 2010. The course uses food and cooking to explicate fundamental principles in applied physics and engineering. (Watch a video about the course.)

Limited to currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates, the class brings together eminent Harvard researchers and world-class chefs.


  • Michael Brenner, Michael F. Cronin Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics and Professor of Physics; Harvard College Professor
  • Pia Sörensen, Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials
  • David Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics

Lab Design/Implementation

  • Pere Castells, Unitat UB-Bullipèdia

Science and Cooking on HarvardX

In HarvardX's "Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science," top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine techniques illuminate scientific principles in physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering. Part 1 of the online course launches again on August 23. Learners can also sign up for part 2 of the course, which launched on May 17 and is still open.

SteamED Teacher Workshops

SteamED adapts exercises from the popular Science and Cooking course and Young Chefs to fit Massachusetts state science standards. It is a rare opportunity for highly motivated teachers to bring these exercises into their classrooms. Teachers, community program instructors, and after school program leaders are invited to register. More information is available on the SteamEd website.