Chefs are using science not only to better understand their cooking, but also to create new ways of cooking. Elsewhere, chefs have played with lasers and liquid nitrogen. Restaurant kitchens are sometimes outfitted with equipment adapted from scientific laboratories. And then there are hydrocolloids that come in white bottles like chemicals.
Xanthan gum, for instance, a slime fermented by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris and then dried, is used in bottled salad dressing to slow the settling of the spice particles and keep water and oil from separating. Xanthan and other hydrocolloids are now part of the tool kit of high-end chefs.
Cooking is chemistry, after all, and in recent decades scientists have given much closer scrutiny to the transformations that occur when foodstuffs are heated. That has debunked some longstanding myths. Searing meat does not seal in juices, for example, but high heat does induce chemical reactions among the proteins that make it tastier. The experimentation with hydrocolloids represents a rare crossover between the culinary arts and food science, two fields that at first glance would seem to be closely related but which have been almost separate. Food science arose in the 20th century as food companies looked for ways to make their products survive the trek to the supermarket and remain palatable. The long list of ingredients on a frozen dinner represents the work of food scientists in ensuring shelf life and approximating the taste of fresh-cooked food.
Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have discovered carbon molecules, known as “buckyballs,” in space for the first time. Buckyballs are soccer-ball-shaped molecules that were first observed in a laboratory 25 years ago.
They are named for their resemblance to architect Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, which have interlocking circles on the surface of a partial sphere. Buckyballs were thought to float around in space, but had escaped detection until now. “We found what are now the largest molecules known to exist in space,” said astronomer Jan Cami of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif.
"We are particularly excited because they have unique properties that make them important players for all sorts of physical and chemical processes going on in space."
Dear followers, one of you asked us this question. (?)
In your opinion/experience, does the prestige or reputation of the university one studies at affect one’s future career in chemistry (or science in general)? Or are all science degrees from all universities equal?
We think it is better if you get the opinion of more people than just one.
Personally, I generally feel that all universities are equal and it is the individual that matters; however, it can be argued that the people that surround a person and the University itself (how much emphasis the University places on Chemistry etc.) can shape one’s studies (significantly) as well.
A GENE has been discovered that appears to dictate the sexual preferences of female mice. Delete the gene and the modified mice reject the advances of the males and attempt to mate with other females instead.
While it is impossible to say whether the finding has any relevance for human sexuality, it provides a clue as to how sexuality develops in mammals.
There may be a literal truth underlying the common-sense intuition that happiness and sadness are contagious.
A new study on the spread of emotions through social networks shows that these feelings circulate in patterns analogous to what’s seen from epidemiological models of disease.
Earlier studies raised the possibility, but had not mapped social networks against actual disease models. “This is the first time this contagion has been measured in the way we think about traditional infectious disease,” said biophysicist Alison Hill of Harvard University. Data in the research, in the July 7 Proceedings of the Royal Society, comes from the Framingham Heart Study, a one-of-a-kind project which since 1948 has regularly collected social and medical information from thousands of people in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Earlier analyses found that a variety of habits and feelings, including obesity, loneliness, smoking and happiness appear to be contagious.