Physics, Food, Penguins and a passion for science!

By Shout-Africa – JOHANNESBURG – Versatile Physics Professor, Peter Barham of Bristol University UK, renowned for delivering edutaining lecture demonstrations in restaurants, bars, lecture halls and classrooms, on topics as varied as the physics of ice-cream and the conservation of the endangered African penguin will visit the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre from the 18 – 19 July to raise public awareness on the role and relevance of science in our daily lives.


Winner of the 2003 Kelvin Medal (Institute of Physics) for his contributions to the promotion of public awareness of science, Prof. Barham will be performing the following Science Demonstrations at Sci-Bono:

Sunday, 18 July, 14:30 – 15:30 pm, GET SCIENCE LICKED – The physics of ice-cream.

A family science show demonstrating several different ways to make ice-cream.  Audience members will get to taste the home-made ice-cream while learning about the formation of ice-crystals and the laws of thermodynamics. The show is suitable for all ages.

Monday 19 July, 11:30 am and 14:30 pm, A PASSION FOR PENGUINS

Sharing his love for penguins, Prof. Barham helps school learners to understand the role of research in conservation and the need to develop non-invasive techniques for studying the endangered African penguin. This lecture demonstration is aimed at Grade 4 – 9 school learners.

Monday 19 July, 19:00 – 20:30 pm, THE SCIENCE OF TASTE AND FLAVOUR

What makes some foods taste really good together while other pairings are just plain disgusting? In an interactive lecture, Prof. Barham demonstrates how science can help us in the kitchen. Suitable for ages 15 and up.

In addition to conducting research in fundamental Polymer Physics at Bristol University, Prof. Peter Barham is an honorary Professor of Molecular Gastronomy in the Life Sciences faculty at the University of Copenhagen and honorary Research Associate at the Animal Demography Unit in Zoology at the University of Cape Town.

In Copenhagen, Peter is integrally involved in research and the development of teaching activities in the emerging field of Molecular Gastronomy (the application of physical, biological and medical sciences to understanding our appreciation of food).  In his quest to bring science closer to the kitchen, at home and in high end restaurants Peter collaborates with chefs like Heston Blumenthal (Fat Duck) and has written a book “The science of cooking” that is popular both with the general public, and as a text in catering colleges. In 1997 he won the Sci-Art prize jointly with artist, writer and broadcaster, Leslie Forbes and in 1999 was awarded the Institute of Physics Prize for the promotion of Public Awareness of Physics.  Peter is a regular contributor to the Guardian in both the food and science sections.

In Cape Town, Peter’s research centres on saving the endangered African penguins. His fascination with penguins has taken him around the world to see all 17 species in their natural habitat.  His knowledge of the physics of materials and his love for penguins has resulted in the development of a novel non-harmful means of tagging penguins with rubber based flipper bands. Peter leads a major project on Robben Island that uses computer vision technology to individually monitor all 20,000 birds in this colony without human interference and hence without disturbance to the birds.