Exploring our stomachs and our plates

As the British Science Festival has come to Aberdeen, home of Aberdeen Angus cattle, and the Aberdeen buttery, we look at the many events at the Festival exploring new technology and advances in food science.

Cosmic Cocktail

Cosmic Cocktail

There are many complex factors which lead to people being overweight or obese, but the basic question is why do some people eat too much? Are they addicted to food? At’ Food addition: Fact or fiction?’ Visitors can join our international panel of psychiatrists and scientists to explore whether eating food can be so rewarding that it leads to a state of addiction similar to that seen with alcohol and drugs.At ‘Why don’t we eat as we intend? The psychology of dietary control, adults can take part in a range of psychological tests, investigating why resisting temptation is so hard when it comes to sticking to a diet. Psychologist Julia Allen discusses the psychology of dietary control, in the face of so many tasty but calorific foods available to us today.

For visitors more interested in making food, than avoiding it – events such as ‘Bread, brie and booze: Our use of microbes and molecules in the kitchen’ offer the chance to discover the science behind some of the most popular foodstuffs with science presenter Sarah Castor-Perry. In this fun, fact-filled show, find out why salt is so important for great bread, what gives some wines a buttery smell while others smell of berries and how accidentally leaving cheese in a French cave led to the discovery of one of the most famous types of cheese.

Families can enjoy the interactive exhibit ‘Food stories at the University of Aberdeen Museums. This exhibition explores what we eat and why. Objects from the University Museums tell fascinating stories about the different ways in which people across the world obtain, prepare and eat their food, showing the cultural and environmental issues which shape our food choices. Visitors can expect a multi-sensory experience, with a soundscape and scents adding to the visual feast.

Addressing important issues in global development, scientists at ‘Helping the developing world to help itself through sciencediscuss how many problems faced by the developing world, from communicable diseases to food security, can only be effectively tackled with the help of science and technology. The debate discusses the need to build capacity in these countries to develop the relevant science, as well as the technology required to put it to use. Explore the types of partnership that work, and how scientists and students can get involved.

A range of other events address complex topics such as food security and how aware we are of the origins of our food. Join us at the interactive ‘Science on a plateexhibition, and ‘Feeding the nine billion’ debate, chaired by James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food and Drink, to find out more.

If you’ve spent a busy day visiting all the shows and exhibits, it’s a perfect excuse to relax and enjoy one of Aberdeen’s excellent restaurants, and try the cuisine for yourself! Personal recommendations from the team working at Aberdeen University include Silver Darlings, Courtyard, Fusion and Simpons. And if you are straying further afield, or returning home to elsewhere in Aberdeenshire, we’ve heard great things about Eat on the Green in Udny (home of ‘the kilted chef’!)

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