Science & Cooking, Part 2: How Thickeners Work (HarvardX)

How do thickeners change the viscosity of a fluid? In this video, Professor Dave Weitz introduces the four main classes of thickeners, and how each can be used to produce a thicker liquid.


Sign-up for “Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (Part 2)” on edX:

In Part 2 of Science and Cooking (Part 1 is available here:, we will be visited by more world-famous chefs who use a number of different styles and techniques in their cooking. Each chef will demonstrate how he or she prepares delicious and interesting creations, and we will explore how fundamental scientific principles make them possible.

Topics will include:

– How cooking changes food texture
– Making emulsions and foams
– Phase changes in cooking

You will also have the opportunity to become an experimental scientist in your very own laboratory — your kitchen! By following along with the recipes of the week, taking precise measurements, and making skillful observations, you will learn to think like both a chef and a scientist. This practice will prepare you for the final project, when you will design and perform an experiment to analyze a recipe of your choice from a scientific perspective.

The lab is certainly one of the most unique components of this course — after all, in what other science course can you eat your experiments?

This course focuses on the physical changes that occur during cooking. If you are interested in signing up for “Part 1,” which focuses more on the chemistry of cooking, you can do so here:

What you’ll learn:
– The chemical and physical principles that underlie everyday cooking and haute cuisine techniques
– How chefs can use enzymes to make foods that would otherwise be impossible
– How to use the scientific method to learn how a recipe works, and find ways you could improve it
– How to think like a chef AND a scientist.


HarvardX is a Harvard University strategic initiative, to enable faculty to build and create open online learning experiences for the public, and to enable groundbreaking research in online pedagogies. Be sure to subscribe to HarvardX on YouTube to check out more great videos from Harvard.

Post time: Sep-13-2017
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