A space for those who care about the science behind their food.

Science and cooking: physics meets food

Book Science and Cooking

“Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food” will make you realize that you’ve been a scientist for a long time. In case you do not know, I am referring to the art of cooking, which is indeed based on basic physics laws.

Dear reader, you are indeed a scientist!

This website’s name makes evident that the target people I want to reach through my knowledge are food scientists or people related to other science fields. Therefore, if you have been involved in the food science sector, I am sure you know what I am pointing to when I say that cook is a science. But if you, dear reader, do have nothing to do with food science or science itself will mean that this post is especially for you. 

As I have said multiple times in this blog, we humans are heterotroph beings, meaning that we can not self-produce our own food, but obtain it from other sources such as animal and plant matter. Therefore, if you are reading this, I am sure you are doing it because the diet you have been following since you were born has kept you alive and able to read. Food has maintained you healthy due to the nutrition it gave to you, and since the food has been safe to eat. What I do not know at all if you are a chef or a master in calling food ordering services to keep yourself fed.

The case is, you do science or at least are involved in it!

Every ingredient and meal you eat has gone through several steps and verifications to ensure it’s safe, nutritious, and tasty above all. Why do we knead bread? What determines the temperature at which we cook a steak? For how long our chocolate chip cookies have to be in the oven? Easy. SCIENCE is the answer!

Physics meets food
During kneading, the gliadin and glutenin proteins in the flour expand and form strands of gluten, which gives bread its texture. Photo credit: EatThisNotThat

If I was a chef, instead of being subscribed to free food delivery services (yes, I am a master in ordering food), I would probably try to share some scientific experiments in the kitchen (the so-called recipes). As that is not the case, I will refer to a book that is a must if you really want to discover the science you have been intaking for years to satisfy your hunger.

“Science and Cooking: Physics Meets Food” is a great book based on the famous Harvard University edX course Science and Cooking, which explores the scientific basis of why recipes work. Basically, it is a book that will allow you to think differently about that mere egg salad sandwich you use to get during your productivity breaks.

You will learn how the most basic recipes work physically, chemically, and biologically. Better than this is that the knowledge you will get comes from the best people you could get it from, brilliant scientists who spend their days using their brains. Harvard professors Michael Brenner, Pia Sörensen, and David Weitz bring the classroom to your kitchen to teach the physics and chemistry underlying every recipe. Moreover, the book provides you with engaging introductions from revolutionary chefs and collaborators such as Ferran Adria and José Andrés. It is surely a win-win as both scientists and magnificent chefs have worked on it to bring the reader an enjoyable and fruitful experience.


Michael Brenner is a professor of applied mathematics and physics at Harvard University. Pia Sörensen is a teaching professor of chemical engineering and applied materials at Harvard University. David Weitz is a professor of physics and applied physics at Harvard University. The three of them founded in 2010 the undergraduate class Science and Cooking.


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Pedro Rivero

(BSc, PhD)


I am a Food Science PhD candidate wishing to communicate my knowledge in this field through this blog and my social media.

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