Science for Whetting Your Appetite

How can one use a math model when preparing a perfect steak? What is the connection between ice cream and hydrocolloid basics? How do microwaves, steam and pressure affect food? All these questions are topics of interactive lectures for high-school students who will take part in ITMO’s "Edible Science" course.

The project is organized by the International Research Center "Biotechnologies of the Third Millennium" and the Department of Applied Biotechnology. The program of "Edible Science" includes nine interactive lectures — participants will be able to choose the topics depending on their interests. The four-month course will start in February.

Ilya Litvyak, chef at the Umami food court and an author of the lectures talked about the project: "I understand how a gas stove heats my frying pan and what temperature is needed for egg white and yolk to coagulate. It gives me an opportunity to cook any kind of fried eggs and five types of omelet. To cook exactly what I want I need to understand the principles of how things work. The main idea I want to share with students is that without knowing the principles and even looking for random methods leads to failure."

After the first session of Edible Science the course will be transformed. According to Denis Baranenko, head of the research center, an online course for the educational project MOOC is planned.

"The next step is to initiate the "food lab" center for school and university students, where they will turn their ideas into reality under the guidance of PhD students and lecturers. For instance, it will be possible to make an innovative drink based on kombucha [fermented tea drink -Ed.] or a super brownie with a homemade chocolate," said Mr. Baranenko.

According to Denis Baranenko, people are not deeply-versed in what good nutrition looks like. They don’t know what products are healthy; it provokes lots of myths related to harmful chemical elements in food and such. The expert believes that Edible Science will help fill this gap.

The course is part of the School for Young Biotechnology Experts project aimed at attracting talented young people. The duration of the school is seven months. The first part of the project includes lectures on biotech basics and food production (from October till February), the second one will be devoted to research projects (from January till April). Then the participants will take part in forums and conferences including the All-Russia Congress for Young Scientists organized by ITMO.

"Edible Science gets youth of different ages interested in research. Using the experience of our international colleagues we will start with high school students and then involve younger schoolers step by step," said Lyudmila Nadtochiy, associate professor at the Department of Applied Biotechnology.

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Personalities
  • Denis Baranenko

    Head of the International Research Center “Biotechnologies of the Third Millennium” 

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