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A study at Oxford University has suggested particular genres of music can enhance the taste of certain dishes. The research argued that Taylor Swift could soon prove to be a popular ingredient for Chinese takeaways and Justin Bieber could help your diet.The project was coordinated by Professor Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology at Somerville College, building upon his previous work in analysing “multisensory illusions” and “multisensory perception.” Professor Spence has previously concluded that the material of a spoon changes how one perceives the taste of a meal, as does plate colour.The ‘gastrophysics’ study was carried out via 700 volunteers listening to songs from a variety of genres while eating takeaway cuisine; they then rated the dishes’ quality on a scale of one to ten. Spence told The Times, “Nobody has looked at spiciness and music before…if there is music that is more alerting, more arousing, then people appreciate spicier food more.” Amongst other findings, the study concluded Bruce Springsteen renders food spicier whilst Nina Simone reduces it – but she’s the ideal audial side-dish for sushi. Prokofiev turns out to be great for pasta.“It is an exciting area,” says Professor Spence. “How soundscapes and music come together with taste to make the whole experience more stimulating, more enjoyable and possibly even more memorable.” Spence has collaborated with the similarly innovative Heston Blumenthal, and was instrumental in preparing a seafood dish at the Fat Duck restaurant – one served to diners complete with iPod, emitting the sound of crashing waves.Spence’s discovery of what he terms “a kind of digital seasoning” also has commercial implications. The study was commissioned by Just Eat, an Internet-based takeaway-ordering company; Spence revealed that they are considering providing music with their meals. Graham Corfield, managing director of Just Eat, commented: “We wanted to discover why music has such an impact on the enjoyment of takeaways. Playing some pop might just enhance your pad thai.” More food for thought is the conclusion that classical music improves customer satisfaction; one St John’s student suggested to Cherwell, “Maybe Professor Spence can advise our chefs on how to make formal hall taste any better.”The study was also concerned to look at how music use could manipulate consumers to make healthier food choices. Professor Spence found, “salty is the hardest one to get musically.” He did, however, suggest one possible route for reducing junk-food consumption. Spence advises, “Don’t play Justin Bieber when you order a takeaway”– his music is bad for one’s appetite.
Postdoctoral researchers, research associates, and their faculty mentors celebrated together at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s “Postdoc Appreciation Day” on Sept. 20, 2017 in the Kresge Cafeteria.The annual event was organized by the School’s Postdoctoral Association (PDA) with the support of the Office of Faculty Affairs.In her opening remarks, Dean Michelle Williams thanked the attendees for their significant contributions to research endeavors at the School and expressed gratitude to their faculty mentors. She thanked the leaders of the PDA and cited the energy, enthusiasm, curiosity, and “can do” attitude of the more than 450 postdocs and research associates. About 40% are U.S. residents and 60% are international, representing more than 40 countries.Christian Suharlim, MPH ’14, research associate in the Center for Health Decision Sciences, emceed the event. Ending his three-year tenure as PDA president, he presented leadership awards to PDA Council members Mudit Chaand, Jacqueline Cohen, and Aisha Dickerson for their dedication to the postdoc community.Alkes Price, associate professor of statistical genetics, was presented the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Mentor of the Year award. The award honors outstanding faculty members who are exemplary role models and have provided consistent guidance, emotional support, and motivation to their postdoctoral fellows. Finalists included Rebecca Betensky, Caroline Buckee, James Butler, Jorge Chavarro, Robert Farese Jr, Edward Giovanucci, Yonatan Grad, Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, Karestan Koenen, Francine Laden, Josiemer Mattei, Murray Mittleman, Sam Myers, Zachary Nagel, Kristopher Sarosiek, Tobias Walther, and Marc Weisskopf,The event was held in conjunction with National Postdoc Appreciation Week.– Marge Dwyer and Christian Suharlim, MPH ’14 Read Full Story
North American esports organisation OpTic Gaming has forged a partnership with AFK Gaming and SoStronk that will see a new all-Indian Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team be formed.OpTic Gaming and its partners are set to host tryouts for the team, aptly titled OpTic India, from May 7th. Participants will undergo “an extensive evaluation based on psychometric and theoretical tests in addition to role-based and in-game analysis,” according to the organisation.Candidates who make a shortlist will then play numerous matches under the watchful eyes of SoStronk’s Prashant “Aequitas” Prabhakar and Ali “Alicus” Saba, Scouting Director of Infinite Esports and Entertainment – OpTic Gaming’s parent company. The selection process will be wrapped up at the LXG Arena in Bangalore, on May 12-13th.Nick “ashes” Ridgeway, Gears of War Coach for OpTic Gaming and Head of Play Support at Infinite Esports and Entertainment said: “We are very excited to be working alongside the excellent teams at AFK Gaming and SoStronk for our expansion into India. At OpTic Gaming, we are passionate about growing and supporting exciting new regions, so India was a natural next step due to the support of so many Indian fans in both India and around the globe.”Registration for the OpTic India draft is open now. SoStronk’s website, which is the destination for registrants, calls this prospective team OpTic’s Academy team. The five members who make it all the way will be offered “competitive salaries”, a “cutting edge bootcamp”, and access to “top international coaches & analysts”.This move comes just days after OpTic Gaming’s main CS:GO team transitioned to having a full-Danish lineup, acquiring Jakob “JUGi” Hansen and Marco “Snappi” Pfeiffer from Heroic.Esports Insider says: Infinite Esports and Entertainment has done some intriguing things since its inception in 2017 – including the GG Esports Academy and the upcoming OpTic Arena – but this may take the cake. Giving an opportunity for budding Indian competitors to join a top tier esports organisation is an exciting move to spectate, never mind be a part of.