Undisciplined: Fire And Rice

Jun 1, 2020

Credit HungTang Ko and David Hu, Journal of the Royal Society Interface

  Since the unification of the northern and southern dynasties in China 1,500 years ago, Chinese chefs have been making fried rice. And if you have never stopped to watch a master chef go to work preparing this dish, you are missing out.

Fried rice is prepared in a wok using a tossing technique that enables food to cook without burning at temperatures of 1,200 degrees Celsius — that’s 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

And there is a deep, beautiful, ancient art to this. But as our guest will explain, there’s a whole lot of science, too.

HungTang Ko is a PhD student in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech University and his research is gorgeously interdisciplinary. His major research interest is in biophysics and he has published a whole bunch of stuff on fire ants, but he’s gotten a lot of attention lately on his work examining the physics of wok tossing, which was recently published on the cover of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.