Penn State offers newly promoted faculty members a chance to dedicate a book in the library. I picked “On Food and Cooking” by Harold McGee and this was my dedication.
It’s very easy to think chemistry is all about pharmaceuticals and new materials and so on but at its foundation chemistry is all about trying to understand the world in terms of the molecules that make it up. The most simple and mundane materials we touch and taste are governed by the same chemical principles that apply to the most esoteric and novel. Indeed the chemistry of the mundane has more day-to-day impact on our lives.
McGee’s book is still unrivalled at looking at our common experiences in the kitchen and asking the “but why?” questions that start many of us on a career in science.