Science and Food: Physical and Molecular Origins of What We Eat

Description: Lecture, three hours; laboratory, two and one half hours. Preparation: high school chemistry, mathematics, physics. What makes lettuce crispy and some cuts of meat chewier than others? Exploration of origins of food texture and flavor, using concepts in physical sciences to explain macroscopic properties such as elasticity and phase behavior, as well as physiological role of food molecules in plants and animals we eat. Letter grading.

Units: 5.0
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Overall Rating N/A
Easiness N/A/ 5
Clarity N/A/ 5
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Overall Rating 3.1
Easiness 2.9/ 5
Clarity 3.4/ 5
Workload 2.6/ 5
Helpfulness 3.7/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Spring 2019 - I love food. Science is an ehhh for me, but I'm not horrible at it. When starting this class, I thought it would be fairly easy because the grade distribution did not look to bad. I was mistaken. To sign up for the class, you must email the professor for a PTE number, but maybe after this review, you may or may not want to sign up for this course. If you have a background in some previous chemistry and it is fresh in your mind, this is the class for you. I had taken a chemistry course in high school, but it had been years since I had to do any chemistry. The only thing that kept me going (alive) in the class were the guest lectures. In these lectures, chefs and food business owners come to class to discuss something related to the course content and sometimes they bring tasty food samples. It was also very nice to have conversations with the guest lecturers, but this class is not worth taking solely to form a connection with one of the chefs for your culinary career future (sad, I know). The grade breakdown is: Weekly assignments 20% Includes weekly problem sets and guest speaker self-reflections Course and section participation 20% Includes section attendance as well as in-class quizzes Midterm examination 15% Scientific bake-off presentation 25% Includes project proposal, in-class presentation Final examination 20% Doesn't look too bad right? Well, it sort of is. Homework assignments are all posted online through CCLE and some questions are multiple choice while others require calculations or written explanations. Attendance is taken in lab and sometimes there are little in-lecture assignments to count towards participation and attendance and this may happen randomly so it is important to attend both lecture and lab. The midterm for my term was around 7 questions or so, but with a few subquestions. Students get to bring a mini "cheat sheet" for both the midterm and final, but frankly, it was just kept as back up. I got a D+ on my midterm and a B- on my final exam. Students are given mini study guides only a 2-3 days before the exam, which isn't enough time, but it is nice that they give out study guides AT ALL. There were two TA's for the course. One was very chill and nice and the other one was a bit harsh and blunt with students. Be prepared to get your feelings hurt by something the professor or TA said to you unless you are very lucky and get a kind TA. There are also LA's (Learning Assistants) in the lectures and lab, but I did not find them to be very helpful. The first day of class was so exciting for me because I was so eager to learn about what makes food the way it is with its taste, texture, smell, etc. I was even more excited to learn that a quarter of the grade would go towards a baking project. I would consider myself an intermediate baker and I thought this project would be a breeze because I LOVE BAKING. But, you guessed it, I WAS MISTAKEN. My problem with this project is that although were are given time a few weeks earlier, I did not have the supplies or a kitchen so the only times I could perform the project were during the two hour lab times. The supplies are donated generously, but they run out quick, leading me to purchase other supplies and ingredients. I disliked the fact that this project was due Week 10, right before finals. Okay, now onto the final exam. Surprisingly enough, the final exam was easier than the midterm, although I studied a lot for both of them. They included multiple choice questions, written responses, and plenty of calculations. In the event you decide to take this class, take it with a friend who is good at math and/or science, or just try to make a couple of friends in the class because a lot of other students will come in the class with their friends which makes it difficult to form new connections with others. Many of my classmates were quite cold, but that could be just because it is a college culture to focus oneself. Although you can ask for help in this class through the professor and TA's, it seems like they only just want to hear little to no questions from students because it is "bothersome". This course is very much a DIY and "pray for a nice TA" course. Don't let the disguise of being an interesting course take you into it because although this course seems relatively easy, it adds unecessary stress. That's all folks.
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