On Sept. 24, Steinhardt kicked off its 125th anniversary celebration with an interdisciplinary panel that brought together a food policy expert, an historian of science, and an experimental neuroscientist. Yale University’s Gordon Shepherd, a leading researcher who coined the field of “neurogastronomy,” and Harvard University’s Steven Shapin, an expert on historical changes in food and identity, joined Marion Nestle, professor of Food Studies at Steinhardt, to discuss why we eat what we eat. Krishnendu Ray, associate professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, moderated the discussion.
The panelists delivered a ten-minute presentation on their body of research which was then followed by a Q & A from an audience of faculty, students, alumni, and friends of the school. The conversation tackled questions surrounding the science of nutrients in the body, the challenge of feeding large and unequal populations well, and the complexities of food as a cultural object.
“’The Why We Eat What We Eat’ discussion is representative of the precise strength of the School’s interdisciplinary nature and work at the intersection of theory and practice,” said Ray. “Such collaboration across specializations is essential to solving the problems we face in the fields of human health, chronic illness, and wellness. And these problems are exactly what we address through research and coursework in our department here at Steinhardt.”
The lecture was part of Steinhart’s 125th Anniversary series called, Making Waves. The event was the first of four conversation with distinguished Steinhart faculty and guests about how new research on the brain is helping us better understand human behavior.
(Photo: panelists from left to right: Krishnendu Ray, Marion Nestle, Gordon Shepherd, and Steven Shapin.)