"Galaxies, Beer, and Baked Alaska: The Science of Foams"
Beer, soda, and champagne; bread, meringue, and whipped
cream; we drink and eat astonishing amounts of foam. Foamy edibles go far
back in human history, and Leonardo da Vinci and Lord Kelvin, among others,
have studied foam. This talk combines the science and the lore of foam,
from its mathematical mysteries to its role in the arrangement of galaxies
and in NASA’s exploration of space; from what foam does in a Baked Alaska
(and its inverse, a Frozen Florida) to tales about how the foaminess of
bread became a moral issue in 17th-century Paris, and how the 18th-century
English scientist Joseph Priestley used beer to invent carbonated beverages.