Food Chemistry

Spring 2019
Class Size: 50
50% Reserved for Freshmen
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Melissa Nivala
Sunderman square
physical and inorganic chemistry

Note: this program is also offered winter quarter. Students who take the winter quarter program should not take the spring quarter program.

Food is a crucial part of everyday life. We prepare it. We ingest it. We apply chemistry on a regular basis, without even recognizing it. In this program we will explore topics in chemistry connected to food.  We will investigate answers to the questions: Why does popcorn pop? Why are so many low fat foods low in flavor? Why are some vitamins fat soluble while others water soluble: And why does that matter? What does gluten do? 

Introductory concepts in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry will be introduced and explored.  We will study protein denaturation and make mozzarella. In the laboratory setting students will get exposure to and practice with measurements, spectrophotometers, lab safety, and work on general lab techniques. Statistics and algebraic thinking for science will be integrated throughout our studies: by analyzing lab data, quantifying nutritional profiles, critically comparing diets, etc.  Math topics will include proportional reasoning and unit conversions, descriptive and inferential statistics, the algebra, geometry, and numerics of various families of functions (polynomial, exponential, logarithmic), and fractal geometry, with special emphasis in all areas placed on relating math to food.  Societal issues connected to food will also be incorporated.  Students will combine applied quantitative, writing, and oral communication skills in a quarter-long project related to food.

We will explore these topics through assignments, seminars, exams and quizzes, laboratory experiments, a field trip, and a project.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

chemistry, life sciences, environmental sciences, health care, teaching, and agricultural studies.This is a Foundational program in the Integrated Biology and Chemistry Path's of Study.  This program satisfies the math prerequisite for Integrated Natural Science (INS).  This program meets the MIT requirement for statistics, college algebra, and either one of these three: chemistry with lab, physical science with lab, or applied chemistry.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$10 for registration fees.

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 50
50% Reserved for Freshmen

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, April 1, 2019 - 9:00 am
SEM 2 A1107 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:

Spring 2019, Winter 2021, and Spring of 2021

2019-04-08Variable credit CRN created