Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, known to millions around the world for his role as Luke Skywalker, is now a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Mark’s interest in chemistry came to light during production for Channel 4’s Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, on which he appeared as the show’s guest star in episode 5 of the show, which aired on Friday 8 December.
The programme is presented by Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty, and each episode features a guest who helps to cook a recipe of their choosing.
On the show, Mark said that food had always been important to him growing up. "I wanted a chemistry set", he said, "and my father said no... But my mum said 'I’ll show you chemistry. Come into the kitchen,' and I became fascinated by it."
Mark revealed that during filming of the early Star Wars films in the 70s, he would visit a local restaurant on Fulham Road in London, which cooked classic Sunday roasts. He said that he tried making Yorkshire puddings himself once, but was unable to make them rise properly.
Use the Force (of chemistry)
Back in 2008 we revealed what we considered to be the most scientifically valid recipe for the perfect Yorkshire pudding, and prior to filming, Jamie Oliver’s production team got in touch to ask us further questions. Why is it important to rest the batter? Does the freshness of eggs affect the rise?
"You need the Force and the science", said Jamie on the show, and used elements of our recipe alongside his own recipe to create some beautifully risen, crispy Yorkshire puddings for Luke Skywalker. As a tribute to the contribution of chemistry, they even used beakers and tiny conical flasks to measure out quantities.
Jamie Oliver tweeted at us as the episode aired, saying: "Thanks for your help guys – Yorkshire puddings will never be the same!"
In supporting the production of the programme, we visited the set during filming at Jamie and Jimmy’s café on Southend Pier, and took the chance to present Mark with the chemistry set he never had as a child.
Royal Society of Chemistry president, Professor Sir John Holman, said: "We are very pleased to make Mark an Affiliate member of the Royal Society of Chemistry – and to be able to give him a gift of the sort of chemistry set he wanted as a child.
"As someone who has fuelled the scientific imaginations of millions of people around the world, he helps us shape the future of the chemical sciences – for the benefit of science and humanity."
If, like Mark Hamill, you’re fascinated by science but don’t have academic qualifications or professional experience, you can join the Royal Society of Chemistry as an Affiliate member. Visit our webpage for more information on how you can get involved in the world’s leading chemistry community.
*This is not a Jedi mind trick.
Jamie’s Royal Society of Chemistry-inspired Yorkshire Pudding recipe
150 g plain flour 4 eggs 175 g whole milk 25 g water Pinch salt
Break the eggs into a bowl, add the salt and whisk the eggs. Add the flour and mix well. Add the milk and water, mixing as you go, until the batter is a smooth consistency. Leave to rest (ideally overnight). Put 8.3 ml beef dripping or oil into each well of a 6-well Yorkshire Pudding tin, and place in a hot oven for 5 minutes until the fat starts to smoke. Give the batter a final stir and pour into the tin, filling each well about half way. Place in hot oven until well risen – should take 10 to 15 minutes.