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Designer brings science to the kitchen

The science of cooking gets a new meaning with these prototype appliances inspired by CERN equipment.

The science of cooking gets a new meaning with these prototype appliances inspired by CERN equipment.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

When you get down to it, cooking is very scientific. You're not necessarily setting out to prove any hypotheses (other than "I hypothesise that this melted cheese will taste delicious"), but you are using specialised equipment to alter the chemical makeup of certain substances, hopefully with repeating results.

Molecular gastronomy takes this idea to a rather high-falutin' conclusion, but not everyone has access to the sorts of ingredients — or even the knowledge — required.

Design graduate Alex Duffner wanted to inspire curiosity and wonder in a way that is accessible to everyone. Inspired by the scientific equipment at CERN in Switzerland and the Diamond Light Source in the UK, he decided to make kitchen appliances integrated with scientific gadgetry so that anyone could try their own experimentation and exploration at home.

He has created what he calls Domestic Science Machines: hybrid appliances that double as scientific equipment. His coffee machine will make you coffee — and, doubling as a spectrometer, allow you to analyse its light properties. His salad spinner serves as a centrifuge, which you can use to separate liquids. And his slow cooker functions as a thermal cycler, which is used to grow DNA.

None of these appliances are on the market yet, but according to Wired, he is currently working with UK-based Technology Will Save Us to bring them to everyone.

"Through my designs I hope to inspire a new-found curiosity for our own environments and inspire people to turn their homes into a new ground for scientific discoveries," Duffner said on his website.