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The Science of Champagne

The Science of Champagne

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by Science & the City


Gérard Liger-Belair is Associate Professor of Physical Sciences at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, in the heart of the Champagne wine region. He has been researching the physical chemistry of bubbles in carbonated beverages for several years, and his photographs have appeared in numerous exhibitions and art galleries. He works as a consultant for the research department of Champagne Moët & Chandon and is the author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne, published by Princeton University Press.

Uncorked is the first book to quench our curiosity about the inner workings of one of the world's most popular drinks. Prized for its freshness, vitality, and sensuality, champagne is a wine of great complexity. Mysteries aplenty gush forth with the popping of that cork. Just what is that fizz? Can you judge champagne quality by how big the bubbles are, by how long they last, by how they behave before they fade? Why exactly does serving champagne in a long-stemmed flute prolong both the chill and the effervescence?.

The Science & the City Food Series

To the chef, there is no greater experiment than attempting a new recipe. Cooking involves balancing a slew of chemical variables, from the acidity of a chocolate chip cookie dough (which factors into browning) to the moisture content of cheese (which can affect Mozzarella's elasticity). A basic understanding of food science can illuminate even the darkest kitchen pantry.

For this reason, the New York Academy of Sciences presents this ongoing series, The Science of Food, to explore the chemical processes and factors that go largely unnoticed in our own kitchens everyday. Experts in food science, biochemistry, and nutrition discuss the science of champagne, chocolate, taste, and more—and share what they have learned about the complex interactions involved in every mouthful. Following each lecture, guests are invited to participate in a tasting of the food du jour.