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In Proof, Adam Rogers reveals alcohol as a miracle of science, going deep into the pleasures of making and drinking booze”and the effects of the latter. The people who make and sell alcohol may talk about history and tradition, but alcohol production is really powered by physics, molecular biology, organic chemistry, and a bit of metallurgy. Proof takes readers from the whisk-making mecca of the Scottish highlands to the oenology labs at UC Davis, from Kentucky bourbon country to the most sophisticated gene-sequencing labs in the world, bringing to life the motley characters and evolving science behind the latest developments in boozy technology. Drinking gets a lot more interesting when you know what’s actually inside your glass of micro brewed ale, single-malt whisky, or Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. All of them begin with fermentation, where a fungus called yeast binges on sugar molecules and poops out ethanol. Humans have been drinking the results for 10,000 years. Distillation is a 2,000- year-old technology-invented by a woman-that we’re still perfecting today. And the molecular codes of alcoholic flavors remain a mystery pursued by scientists with high-tech laboratories and serious funding.
About the Author:
ADAM ROGERS is articles editor at Wired, where his feature story “The Angels’ Share” won the 2011 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award. Before coming to Wired, he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and a writer covering science and technology for Newsweek.