History and Philosophy Of Science | The Art & Science of Beer: History, Technology & Culture
X100 | 11491 | Matthew Dunn


X100
The Art & Science of Beer: History, Technology & Culture
Matt Dunn

The following is from the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian epic thought
to have its roots in oral tradition over 5000 years ago.  Beer and
bread are here considered the hallmarks of modern human culture, by
partaking of them the wild man-beast Enkidu was transformed into a
human.

"Enkidu knew nothing about eating bread for food, and of drinking
beer he had not been taught...Enkidu ate the food until he was
sated, he drank the beer - seven jugs! - and became expansive and
sang with joy!  He was elated and his face glowed.  He splashed his
shaggy body with water...and turned into a human."

Beer has been an important part of human culture since the advent of
agriculture.  Beer has been a safe alternative to water, a source of
nourishment, and for at least the last 300 years, beer has been big
business with annual revenues of some modern brewers topping $15
billion.  Brewing typically leads industry in technological
innovation and it has played a role in major advancements in our
scientific understanding of the world...and not just by providing
drunken inspiration.

This course will examine the cultural, scientific and technological
aspects of beer and its production.  We will explore the place of
beer in ancient as well as modern life.  We will discuss the
production of beer throughout history and some of the major
advancements in brewing technology.  Finally, we will discuss the
role beer and brewing has played in important scientific
achievements in microbiology, biotechnology and physics.