Chemistry Seminar with Dr. Pia Sorensen, Harvard University, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Fermented foods are ubiquitous, delicous and rooted in diverse cultures and history. Moreover, the making and enjoyment of them is deeply rooted in science, ranging from microbiology and chemistry, to biochemistry, flavor physiology, and sensory science.
This talk explores how food fermentations can be an engaging teaching tool for an integrated approach to these diverse scientific fields.
The discussion is based on the design and implementation of a course at Harvard University. The course focuses on the production, properties and characterization of the small molecules involved in food fermentations, as well as the microbial community dynamics these molecules drive. It follows an interactive, curiosity-driven format where students experience the scientific process in a creative way by designing and implementing their own research project. By making what inspires them, and eating what they make, students have an individualized experience with the process of scientific innovation.