Thursday, February 26, 2015,
Olin / 001 Auditorium

Highlights of food History from a mathematical perspective

On the last Thursday of November each year, we celebrate the first Thanksgiving; a feast enjoyed by the Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621. How does our Thanksgiving meal today reflect the first Thanksgiving? Mathematical models provide a unique insight into eating practices in the 1600s which can be compared to current practice. In order to derive models that predict actual energy intake over time, we encounter the historical challenges in assessing human metabolic and physiological measurements. For example, today, body weights are routinely measured and applied to monitor health. On the other hand, during the 1600s, demographic measurements were rarely collected. In this talk, I will travel through time using data and models to understand plausible habitual food consumption from the first Thanksgiving to the present. The mathematical models reveal clear and sometimes surprising delineation of eating habits in different subpopulations. The contents of this presentation are accessible to a general audience and should be relevant to those interested in history, chemistry, nutrition, physiology, differential equations, and statistics

Public event