Nature’s FARMacy: Inspiring Scientific Geniuses Through the Kitchen

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Vayu Maini Rekdal is a chef-scientist originally from Stockholm, Sweden. He is currently a PhD student in the Molecules, Cells and Organisms program at Harvard University, where he is studying biochemistry under the support of the prestigious NSF graduate research fellowship.

By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9 billion. Meeting the demands of the future requires innovation in areas as diverse as climate, medicine, agriculture, and technology. More importantly, it requires a scientifically literate population to drive this innovation in the first place. In 2016, we must prepare for tomorrow by empowering youth with the scientific knowledge they need to reach their potential as agents of our future. Inspiring a new generation of scientific geniuses is no simple task, but the solution may be closer than our think: in our own kitchens, where science is happening everyday, in pots, pans, and mixing bowls.

At first glance, the idea of learning science through cooking may seem surprising, because while scientific concepts and principles are largely universal, the foods consumed on this planet are as diverse as the humans who inhabit it. Every region, and family seem to have their own way of preparing food, of transforming nature’s raw materials into nourishment and deliciousness. How could there be general scientific truths hiding in diverse cuisines?

The answer lies in the fact that no matter what the local food traditions are, our motivation for eating is surprisingly universal. We eat not just to please our senses, but also to get the proteins, energy, vitamins, and nutrients that enable our growth and reproduction, our very existence. Diet provides us with the fundamental building blocks of life. Because we all need to access the same building blocks through our cooking, foods across the world share many commonalities in terms of ingredients and processing —> Read More

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