Undisciplined: Using Math To Avoid Mis-steaks

May 19, 2020

Credit Ted Eytan, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

We're talking to two mathematicians who have harnessed the power of numbers to solve one of the biggest challenges of the kitchen: how to cook a perfect steak. And yes, this is a fun and whimsical use of math, but it's also a true accomplishment in macromolecular science.

When Hala Nelson and John Webb wanted to know how to cook the perfect steak, they applied a nearly 80-year-old mathematical model to answer the question, and they came up with some fascinating conclusions about how fluid and heat move through meat as it cooks. Hala Nelson is an associate professor of applied mathematics at James Madison University where she focuses her research on material science, inverse problems, and partial differential equations. John Webb is an associate professor of pure mathematics at James Madison University and a number theorist who studies classical modular forms and their applications.