Saturday traditionally has served as the main stage for Texas A&M University's annual Physics and Engineering Festival, set for April 7 at the George P. Mitchell '40 Physics Buildings. For the second consecutive yaer, the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy and two local chefs have something special cooking up for this year's Friday night kickoff.

On Friday, April 6, Harvard University physicist Dr. David A. Weitz will team up with local celebrity chefs Tai Lee '02 (Chef Tai's Restaurant Group) and Mitch Siegert (Truman Chocolates) for a free public lecture, Physics of Cooking, set for 7 p.m. in the second-floor primary lecture hall of the Mitchell Physics Building. Tickets are not required for the unprecedented event, in which the trio will demonstrate some of their favorite cooking techniques and explain the underlying science behind their delectable work. The presentation also will be livestreamed by KAMU-TV.

Weitz is back by popular demand, returning to the Texas A&M campus after presenting last year to a standing-room-only Mitchell Physics Building crowd in his 2017 Physics and Engineering Festival debut. The lively and engaging presentation is based on a popular course he has taught since 2010 at Harvard as a collaboration between science professors and chefs. Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science uses food and cooking to illustrate fundamental principles in applied physics and engineering. In addition becoming a hit with non-science majors, the course has developed into a successful outreach mechanism, helping to encourage public interest in science as it explains the connections between cooking, soft matter physics, materials science, and organic chemistry.

In the April 6 free lecture at Texas A&M, Weitz will detail the science of pioneering approaches to preparation and presentation of foods at several famous restaurants, while Lee and Siegert will offer similar insights into the local culinary scene. The presentation will feature demonstrations and examples that explore the science of several innovative techniques in cooking, including foams and use of gelation, as well as more common processes.

Weitz received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1978 and worked as a research physicist at Exxon Research and Engineering for nearly 18 years before becoming a physics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He returned to Harvard in 1999, where he is Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics and a professor of systems biology. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Weitz is director of the Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and a co-director of both the BASF Advanced Research Initiative and the Harvard Kavli Institute for Bionano Science and Technology.

Lee, who was born in South Korea and moved to the United States to live with his grandparents and uncles at the age of 13, earned his bachelor's degree in finance from Texas A&M in 2003. As an undergraduate, he started working in a local Japanese restaurant, where he realized he had a true passion for the culinary arts and enough conviction to pursue a career in restaurant industry. In the decade and a half since, Lee has established himself as one of the most prominent players on the College Station culinary stage with his renowned elegant cuisine of Veritas, the award-winning Chef Tai's Mobile Bistro food truck, a taste of New York City with Paolo's Italian Kitchen and the unique culinary flair of the popular Madden's Casual Gourmet. He has plans in the works for a new contemporary American restaurant, Urban Table, set to open this summer.

Siegert graduated from the Culinary Institute of America with two degrees: one in culinary arts and another in baking and pastry arts. He has worked for many unique food establishments, including The Food Network and The Ritz Carlton, Naples. He moved back to Bryan-College Station to open Truman Chocolates. He has been recognized in countless feature articles and with many awards for his unique chocolates, which are produced through a delicate and time-consuming process that takes about a day to complete.

For additional information about Friday's Physics of Cooking event, go to http://physicsfestival.tamu.edu/physics-of-cooking-2018/.

To see the complete Physics and Engineering Festival schedule and learn more about related activities, visit http://physicsfestival.edu or see the related press release.

Watch an archived recording of the 2017 Physics of Cooking presentation.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova, (979) 845-5644 or etanya@physics.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • In 2017, Harvard University physicist Dr. David A. Weitz joined local chefs Peter Madden and Mitch Siegert in serving up an entertaining, science-based educational entrée to a packed Mitchell Physics Building house to kick off last year's Texas A&M Physics and Engineering Festival.

  • Local chocolatier Mitch Siegert (Truman Chocolates) stirs up a heaping helping of hands-on fun.

© Texas A&M University. To request use of any of our photographs for educational use or to view additional options from our archive, please contact the College of Science Communications Office.

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