Physics, food collide tonight at lecture in Aspen |

Physics, food collide tonight at lecture in Aspen

Isabelle Chapman
Special to The Aspen Times

The Aspen Center for Physics will open its summer lecture series with a speaker who will discuss a physics topic that will appeal not just to brainiacs and rocket scientists but also to food lovers.

At 6:30 tonight at Paepcke Auditorium, David Weitz, Mallinckrodt professor of physics and applied physics at Harvard University, will focus on food in terms of physics, as he discusses it in his Science & Cooking class at Harvard.

“This has a broader-range appeal; it’s not just about physics. I think it will appeal to the foodies in town because it’s also about gourmet eating,” said Jane Kelly, administrative vice president of the Aspen Center for Physics.

The event also will feature a local chef, a bartender and even a high school student. The three will assist Weitz in some of his demonstrations, which will resemble those that he did for his students at Harvard. Though Weitz is not a chef and has never had any professional training in cooking, in its first year his class still had more than 10 percent of Harvard’s undergraduate students enrolled — 700 out of the Ivy League school’s 6,000 total undergraduates.

The Aspen Center for Physics also anticipates a good turnout for the free event, with close to 200 in attendance.

Patty Fox, public relations manager for the Aspen Center for Physics, is looking forward to great things from this evening’s lecture.

“It’s going to be very exciting,” Fox said. “It’s really a new food technique — using physics to prepare these things.”

The Aspen Center for Physics expects those in attendance to witness Weitz make a martini that will be below freezing. He also will demonstrate techniques such as spherification of soft-condensed matter and will explore different ways to cook eggs.

Weitz hopes to make science more accessible to attendees who are unfamiliar with physics.

“The point of the lecture is to take things that people know about cooking and look at them differently,” Weitz said. “(Those in attendance) can learn about science in a way that they won’t be afraid and can have lots of fun.”

Isabelle Chapman is an intern working for The Aspen Times this summer.

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