Physicist, pitmaster to discuss science of barbecuing

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will host a Louisiana physicist, astronomer and competitive barbecue chef who will grill up a discussion on the laws of brisket on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Titled “Low and slow cooking: Understanding the physics of barbecue,” Dr. Andy Hollerman, a professor of physics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, will examine the process of how beef, pork and chicken go from cold cuts to the savory tradition associated with summer holidays. Samples will be provided.

“Physicists love to explore how science describes our everyday activities,” said Dr. Chad Young, department head of physical sciences and interim department head of applied sciences at Nicholls. “ Indeed, anyone can be a chemist or a physicist and Dr. Hollerman’s work as a chef is a perfect example. Physics at Nicholls has never tasted so good!”

Dr. Hollerman has taught physics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette since 1999 and has been a competitive chef since 2003. He and his wife, Lynn, operate the competitive cooking team, Glows BBQ, which is a reference to Hollerman’s work studying the physical properties of luminescent materials. They have also coordinated and judged several barbecue cook-offs over the last two decades.

“Making things glow in the dark, either in physics research, patenting non-burning tracer ammunition or cooking championship-caliber BBQ has been a passion for many years,” Hollerman says on his website.

The presentation will begin at 2 p.m. in Beauregard 104 and is free and open to the public.


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