Geeks-N-Taps combines science, beer and fun | The Drinker | Indy Week
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Geeks-N-Taps combines science, beer and fun 

The young scientists leading the taste bud demonstration had to look at a lot of tongues.

Photo by Jeremy M. Lange

The young scientists leading the taste bud demonstration had to look at a lot of tongues.

If you have Facebook friends who love posting inspirational quotes, the odds are good you've seen the adage "Do what you love, and it isn't work."

Pat Phelps has that nailed. She is the driving force behind the Geeks-N-Taps event series.

"I love science, and I love beer," Phelps says, "so it's a great combination."

She knows how to make information interesting. Phelps was a genomics education specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and the lead educator on the exhibit team for the Genome: Unlocking Life's Code exhibit.

At a recent Geeks-N-Taps event at Durham's Fullsteam Brewery, people tasted and sniffed a wide range of flavors and aromas, smashed fruit to extract DNA and examined each other's tongues for taste buds.

Each activity was led by science students from the local universities. The students were enthusiastic about demonstrating the science of taste to the general public, and the sold-out crowd eagerly soaked up the knowledge—and the beer—it received.

Visit www.geeksntaps.com for info on upcoming events as they're scheduled and to buy tickets.

click to enlarge Pat Phelps, puts her Ph.D to use for your benefit. - PHOTO BY JEREMY M. LANGE
  • Photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • Pat Phelps, puts her Ph.D to use for your benefit.

click to enlarge At one of the stations participants smashed strawberries... - PHOTO BY JEREMY M. LANGE
  • Photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • At one of the stations participants smashed strawberries...

click to enlarge After adding a solution to the mush, they used skewers to extract DNA from it. - PHOTO BY JEREMY M. LANGE
  • Photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • After adding a solution to the mush, they used skewers to extract DNA from it.

click to enlarge Aroma plays a big part in the taste of beer, and food and drink in general. At one station participants tried to guess the correct flavor of a jelly bean while holding their nose. No one could. But when they let go of their nose, BAM! the flavors came alive. Another stop, left, had vials with assorted aromas and water, for a control. Some people smelled nothing from any of them. Others almost fell off their seat at the overwhelming stench of was described as "body odor." Bottom line? Your pal may hate a beer, but that doesn't mean you will. Blame genetics. - PHOTO BY JEREMY M. LANGE
  • Photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • Aroma plays a big part in the taste of beer, and food and drink in general. At one station participants tried to guess the correct flavor of a jelly bean while holding their nose. No one could. But when they let go of their nose, BAM! the flavors came alive. Another stop, left, had vials with assorted aromas and water, for a control. Some people smelled nothing from any of them. Others almost fell off their seat at the overwhelming stench of was described as "body odor." Bottom line? Your pal may hate a beer, but that doesn't mean you will. Blame genetics.

click to enlarge Ready for its close-up: Dum Dum lollipops turn a tongue blue, and the extent of the color shows the amount of taste buds. - PHOTO BY JEREMY M. LANGE
  • Photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • Ready for its close-up: Dum Dum lollipops turn a tongue blue, and the extent of the color shows the amount of taste buds.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Belly up and geek out."

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