2010-01-16: Science Café – “Brews for the Masses: The Carlsberg Story”

January Meeting: A Science Café

“Brews for the Masses: The Carlsberg Story”
Introductory Talk by: Dr. Henry Abrash

Saturday, January 16th, 2010
At 4:00 p.m.

Laurel Tavern
11938 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604

SCALACS’ first monthly meeting of 2010 will also be the Section’s first Science Café. Science Cafés are informal meetings which usually include a short presentation on a particular scientific theme. In addition to our members, we invite the public at large to come share a drink and/or meal while all have a chance to participate in open discussions. A central goal of these gatherings is to bring scientists and nonscientists together to listen to one another, so as to get a better sense of how we each see the scientific issues that affect all of our lives.

Abstract: In 1875, J. C, Jacobsen, founder of the Carlsberg Brewery, established the Carlsberg Laboratory to develop as fully a scientific basis as possible for the operation of malting, brewing and fermentation. Believing that scientific advances were for the general good rather than for personal gain, he specified that none of the results of the laboratory were to be kept secret. This meant the brewery derived no financial advantage from some of its major discoveries, in particular the development of a pure yeast strain from a single cell, and the large scale production of laundry enzymes by bacterial fermentation. Other important discoveries were the Kjeldahl nitrogen analysis, the pH scale and the demonstration that pH affects enzyme activity, and micro techniques for following biochemical reactions. The loose restrictions on the specifics of the research allowed for studies of eel migration and oceanographic studies.

Biography: Henry Abrash received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1956 and his doctorate in chemistry and mathematics from the California institute of Technology in 1961. He spent a year at the University of Wisconsin and was on the faculty of California State University Northridge from 1961 to 1998. Two of his sabbaticals (1968-9 and 1975-6) were spent at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen. His research and teaching interests included the mechanisms of action of enzymes, physical chemistry of proteins, the mechanism of air oxidation of polyphenols, and information retrieval in chemistry.