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Chemistry professor’s book wins national award


By: Shelley Hulme, senior manager, strategic communications management

Shots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey, a guidebook for whiskey lovers, has been named a national winner in the Gourmand Awards category: Best Hall of Fame Wine Books.

Written by TCU Professor Eric Simanek and Rob Arnold, a third-generation member of the whiskey industry, the book features approximately 60 illustrated essays, covering topics in whiskey production through the lenses of science and engineering.

Simanek, chair of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and director of the TCU IdeaFactory, wrote the book to demonstrate a broad range of scientific fields, including organic chemistry, plant sciences and geology, in an entertaining way. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, founded in 1995, is the only international competition to honor the best food and wine books, printed or digital, as well as food television. The awards honor those who “cook with words,” increase knowledge and respect for food and wine culture and assist readers in identifying the best books from the average 26,000 food and wine books published each year.

Shots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey is available at TCU Press and online at

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