Highlights of GA/GI Fest 2010

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Great Cooking/Good Science! CMU Chemistry Students Shake-up Recipes and Bake Bulbs


One of the first things Professor Subha Das did during his tour of 301A in the Glass Lofts, is to peek in the condo's refrigerator.After all, his students will need plenty of space for the ingredients they plan to cook up @ GA/GI Festival. By some super cool quirk of  fate, we just happened to ask Das and his students to participate in our festival during the International Year of Chemistry. Yes, this year, 2011. That said, the professor was already quite certain of his students culinary talents.. They'd had a dress rehearsal several months ago at the Waffle Shop, when they took exams and delighted their judging panel with tasty samples of eggs, chocolate mousse, and a specialty drink---a virgin Bloody Mary---that the students called "a Bloody shame." A report of the students finals was published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's article "Chemistry in the Kitchen.".


Das says he enjoys teaching chemistry, but he likes to take a lesson plan and, "turn it on its head."
"I like to find innovative ways to teach science; get people excited," said the Carnegie Mellon University Professor. "I think a lot of people eating in high end restaurants would be surprised to learn that some of the same cooking methods applied there are also being used at Burger King."

Das eloquently interchanges chef jargon with classic chemistry-speak. He cheerfully mentioned the benefits of making pie dough with vodka, which has chemical properties that allow it to completely dissipate while creating a nice, flaky crust. Its easy to see why his students flock to his lectures.Its important to him that these young adults come away with lessons they will find useful in life. "They often need to see immediate and practical benefits to science," he said.
Subha R. Das

Professor Das will have the run of the condo space and our festival forum to test more scientific goodies on John Q. Public; as well as offer mini lectures on subjects like: The mind of a microwave that will help us finally understand how the darn thing works. He may even take the mystery out setting the clock! For dessert? Das thinks samples of at least two super cool items would be available--a liquid nitrogen ice cream and a nitro-frozen mousse.
Says Das, "Ice cream has become somewhat ordinary, so I want to make sure that I'm upping the ante."

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