The Sweet Science of Chocolate

Saturday Speaker
Saturday, February 9, 2019
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Science History Institute
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

Humans have consumed food and beverages derived from cocoa beans for 2,500 years. Mayans and Aztecs valued the cocoa bean so highly they used it as currency, not to mention as the basis for the foamy beverage they drank in religious rites. Join us for a short history of chocolate and some fascinating perspectives on its science from Joe Vinson.

  • Learn how cocoa pods are harvested and fermented.
  • Find out about the fats, alkaloids, and 300 other chemicals at work in your dried and roasted cocoa beans.
  • Get the inside scoop on how chocolate affects our health and whether it’s truly an aphrodisiac.

Bring your valentine for a tasty visit that will have you making informed decisions about which chocolate to buy and how much to consume.

About the Speaker

Joe Vinson, an emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton, is best known for his work with chocolate, tea, coffee, grape juice, cranberry juice, popcorn, and marijuana. His current research interests include the effect of foods, vitamins, and antioxidants on nutrition and health.

Vinson was born in Arkansas and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, attending the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley he received a BS in chemistry and later, at Iowa State University, received a joint PhD in physical organic chemistry and analytical chemistry. There he also worked at the famous Atomic Energy Commission’s Ames Lab. Vinson is the author of over 100 publications and has been featured on ABC Good Morning America Sunday and National Public Radio. For the last 40 years he has been a National Tour Speaker for the American Chemical Society.

About the Saturday Speaker Series

Dive into fascinating stories of science with our Saturday speaker series!

Every month a speaker will offer a short talk on an intriguing scientific topic, followed by a Q&A or discussion over complimentary tea and coffee. Afterward, feel free to mingle with other guests and the speaker, or spend time visiting our free museum.

Admission is free, and no reservations are necessary.

Photo: “Chocolate Sample Testing at Hershey Company Facility,” ca. 1970s. Science History Institute.