The Science and Cooking Public Lectures were a popular series of lectures presented through the Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences last fall. Now it's available online for everyone to watch*.
The introductory lecture features Harold McGee (author of On Food and Cooking), who talks about the history of using science in cooking up through current techniques in molecular gastronomy. That first session also includes a lecture and demonstration by Spanish chefs Ferran Adria - considered one of the "best chefs in the world" and head chef at elBulli - and José Andés, who was trained by Adria and now has several restaurants in the Washington DC area.
Subsequent lectures include "Sous-vide Cooking: a State of Matter", "Brain Candy: How Desserts Slow the Passage of Time", and chemistry of olive oil, chocolate, meat glue and more.
It's very cool stuff. The only bummer is that YouTube doesn't let us sample the food prepared during the course.
Additional information on some of the topics and historical books mentioned during the first lecture:
• "Housekeeping in the Twentieth Century" by Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards was published in the March 1900 issue of the American Kitchen Magazine. It's the source of the quote "each family has a weakness for the flavor produced by its own kitchen bacteria". She also imagines a future where "we shall eat to live and not only live to eat", and have pantries stocked with factory-prepared foods.
• For recipes using sodium alginate and calcium chloride (as in the lecture's demonstration) and other gelling agents, check out Martin Lersch's free e-book Textured: A hydrocolloid recipe collection. He also has a brief post about the chemistry.
* It looks like the lectures were made available online several months ago, but I just discovered them now.