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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The kitchen as a physics classroom

  • Author(s): Rowat, AC
  • Sinha, NN
  • Sorensen, PM
  • Campàs, O
  • Castells, P
  • Rosenberg, D
  • Brenner, MP
  • Weitz, DA
  • et al.

© 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd. Cooking is a tangible, familiar, and delicious tool for teaching physics, which is easy to implement in a university setting. Through our courses at Harvard and UCLA, each year we are engaging hundreds of undergraduate students, primarily non-science majors, in science concepts and the scientific research process. We find that weekly lectures by chefs and professors, paired with edible lab experiments, generate enthusiasm and provide strong motivation for students to learn physics. By the end of the course, students are able to conduct independent scientific research and present their results in a final science fair. Given the considerable broad appeal of food and cooking, the topic could be adapted to other post-secondary as well as secondary-level courses.

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