Chemistry 180 - Food – Let’s Eat


Professor David E. Henderson - Chemistry Department

Office Clement 129

Email for an appointment or come by and look for me in 129 or 122.

Many Tuesday and Thursdays all day. MWF 11-12

Contact by e-mail is recommended david.henderson

Office phone 2514 - please do not leave a message, if I am not in my office, use e-mail

DO NOT CALL AT HOME!!! E-mail will reach me anywhere that I am available.

IM- DHChilies


TEXT- On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee

A large collection of primary material from other books and scientific journals has been placed on Blackboard in the Course Materials Section for your use. It is expected that you will be able to access this material on a computer and that you should not need to print it.


This Course will examine many aspects of food.

    1. How do we perceive food – The sense of taste and smell (and touch and vision)?
    2. What are the substances we need to live? – Introduction to nutrition?
    3. What differences are there between nutrition for staying alive and staying healthy?
    4. What kinds of chemicals make up the food we eat?
    5. How are we manipulated by the media to want food?
    6. How does cooking change the properties of foods?
    7. How do various chemical and physical properties of food affect the final cooked product?
    8. Why is America experiencing an Obesity Epidemic, and why it is so hard to loose weight?
    9. Why is there a world problem with starvation and hunger?
    10. Why are chemicals (pesticides, antibiotics, additives, etc.) used in growing and preparing food?
    11. What are the issues with Genetically Modified foods?



The course will also involve some lab activities with food.

    1. Taste exercises and blind tasting of various foods.
    2. Relating sensation to physical properties, forming hypotheses and testing (tasting) them.
    3. Cooking – we will examine the effects of various ingredients both qualitatively and quantitatively.
    4. Properties of ingredients.
    5. Food colors


Some of these activities cannot be done with the entire class at one time. As a result, half of the class will do the activity one day and the other half the next class day. The students not doing the lab activity will not meet class that day. The blackboard discussions discussed below will require significant time and attention and the missed classes will be compensated by the time spent in discussion online.

Note- If you cannot eat chocolate or have serious food allergies or would find it stressful to keep a detailed record of all of your eating, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the course by email so that alternative lab activities can be planned.





Blackboard Discussion Forums


Discussion forums will be hosted in Blackboard to address several issues. At least four and possibly more will be conducted. For each forum, you are to prepare a statement of at least one page with your thoughts (use references and research if you need to). Post your document by cutting and pasting it into the forum. You are expected to read the other postings. You are also required to respond to at least two other students’ postings in each discussion. Responses should be fairly substantive, not just "Oh yes, I agree." You should either raise objections to the point made by the author or add substance to the argument being made. In either case, you may wish to support your comments with research. I will monitor the quality of the postings and the number and tenor of the replies. I will also jump into the discussion from time to time, but will not respond to all of your postings. Discussion forums will not be graded as formal writing assignments but on the basis of quality and frequency of participation. You can think of these discussions as a seminar course in which the professor asks a question and expects you to carry on the discussion based on reading and research.


Warning about plagiarism


Plagiarism is a serious offense in both the academic and the scientific community. The faculty in this course reserves the right to maintain an archive of submitted written work including discussion forums and to compare all student work received against that archive, both manually and electronically to identify improper use of the work of others. This includes the use of electronic tools such as MS Word which has a powerful Document Compare feature and Google. The inclusion of works in this archive and the comparison to a database does not imply any suspicion of improper behavior on the part of any specific student but is done to discourage such behavior by making it highly risky both to those who submit the work of others as their own and for those who allow uncontrolled access to their past work.





The final seminar grade will be based on discussion board and class participation (which may include short quizzes if students are not prepared). The following weighting is planned (subject to adjustment if necessary):


Participation in Blackboard discussions 20

Lab reports 15

Exams 50

Participation and attendance 15