CHEM 155: Science of Cooking Italy

CHEM 155 (4 credits)
4 weeks in Siena, Italy
Professor Marcia France

Chem 154-155 is a non-majors science sequence that satisfies FDR SL. It will be offered as the Jockey John Robinson First-Year Seminar in the Physical Sciences in Winter/Spring 2015. No previous college level science is required. Course material includes an introduction to the structure of molecules as well as their inter- and intramolecular interactions, with an emphasis on those species of importance to food and cooking. Additional science topics include cell structure of plants and meats and methods of heat transfer. Chemical reactivity as it relates to cooking, fermentation, food preservation, and spoilage will also be discussed.

Chem 154 will meet 1:25-5:25 Friday afternoons during Winter Term and will consist of a lecture followed by laboratory. Chem 155 will take place over four weeks in Siena, Italy in the Spring Term. Chem 155 will consist of daily lectures as well as 9 cooking lessons at a nearby cooking school. Students will get to eat what they cook. Field trips will include a winery, an olive oil factory, an agrotourism farm, a cheese factory, a bakery, and a gelateria. Students will have access to library and computer facilities as well internet access at IES Siena. Accommodation will be in shared apartments with kitchens.

Total cost is approximately $5000, which includes a $50 lab fee for Chem 154. The total cost also includes approximately $2800 for the program fee (subsidized by the Jockey John Robinson Endowment), which covers accommodation, all travel within Italy (for students who arrive at and depart from the Florence Peretola Airport (FLR) at specified times), cooking school tuition (including 9 full meals), field trips, use of facilities, medical insurance, 5 additional meals (lunch or dinner), a welcome reception, and 24/7 emergency support from IES Abroad. Airfare is estimated at $1500, additional meals at $600, and an Italian cell phone at $50.

NOTE: The pre-requisite is Chem 154, to be taken in Winter Term 2015 on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Fulfilling FDR SL through Chem 155 requires a grade of S in Chem 154. Students earning a U in Chem 154 may not take Chem 155 but are still liable for all costs of the program. Graded material in Chem 154 will be counted toward the Chem 155 grade. All participants must be 18 by April 26, 2015.

Program Fee (paid to W&L): $2,800. This includes accommodation, field trips, group meals, ground transportation in Italy, and health insurance.

Estimated Additional Expenses: $1,500 - airfare; $600 - additional meals; $50 - Italian cell phone.

For more information, please contact Prof. France at