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Winter/Spring 2014 Evening Courses

Saturday Family Program -

7th Annual Natural History Road Show

Saturday, April 12, 2014, 12:00-4:00 PM

Weeknights at the Wagner -

Putting the X and Y in SEXY:

How chromosomal genes turn us into boys, girls, and sometimes a bit of both

An illustrated lecture by Dr. Scott Gilbert, Swarthmore College

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Philadelphia Science Festival -

The Magical Mushroom: How a Little Spore Can Save the World

Paul Stamets, Mycologist

Friday, May 2, 2014, 5:30-8:30 PM

Wagner Free Poetry - a new project developed by poet CAConrad and the Wagner.


Science on Tap:

Adam D. Zolkover

Date: Monday, April 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: National Mechanics
22 S. Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Open to the public (age 21+)

Science on Tap is a monthly science café that features a brief, informal presentation by a scientist or other expert followed by lively conversation.

Culturing Food: History, Health & Fermentation

Featuring folklorist, freelance writer, and food blogger
Adam D. Zolkover

What do The Epic of Gilgamesh, James Cook’s Voyage Toward the South Pole and Round the World, the dairies of Gruyères Switzerland, and our speaker’s home kitchen all have in common?  Fermentation!

We can define fermentation as a biological process: as the metabolization of sugars by yeasts, bacteria, and sometimes our own cells, into gases, acids, and alcohol. For denizens of the microbial world, it’s a matter of eat, then excrete. But for humans, fermentation is a cultural process. Bread, beer, dairy, pickles, and preserved meats have all been key ingredients in the success of agricultural, sedentary, urban societies. And they have all been essential to long voyages of exploration.

This talk explores the intermingling of science and history in the kitchen. And it explores some of the practical aspects of fermentation for home cooks today.

Adam D. Zolkover is a folklorist, freelance writer, and food blogger living in Philadelphia, PA.  He serves as editor of the Institute for Civility in Government’s online initiative — The Civility Blog — and teaches courses in folklore, literature, and popular culture at Philadelphia University, Temple University, and The University of Pennsylvania.  He has run workshops on fermentation and lacto-pickling for the Mount Airy Learning Tree.  And he is owner and proprietor of, where he writes about food culture, sustainable cooking, and the preparation and consumption of all manners of delicious fermented things.

This month's Science on Tap is presented by the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

More information on the Science on Tap series

Science on Tap is sponsored by a consortium of five Philadelphia institutions: the Academy of Natural Sciences, the American Philosophical Society Museum, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Wagner Free Institute of Science.