Don't let the wonky-sounding name intimidate you: "molecular gastronomy" is simply the study of cooking techniques at their most elemental level. Molecular gastronomists study the way cooking alters ingredients, and their research has led to innovations like carbonated fruit and vacuum-sealed gourmet cuisine.
Few organizations have dedicated as much brainpower to the burgeoning field as The Cooking Lab, a food-research group that recently published "Modernist Cuisine," a six-volume book set on the subject.
Former Microsoft tech guru Nathan Myhrvold founded The Cooking Lab as part of his Intellectual Ventures enterprise. Combining a background in physics with experience in high-end kitchens, Nathan has bridged the scientific and culinary worlds in his effort to transform our view of cooking.
Photo credit: Ryan Matthew Smith, courtesy The Cooking Lab, LLC