34 min

From Astrophysicist to Cheesemaker With Oliver Zahn The Spoon Podcast

    • Technology

As a child, Oliver Zahn was a self-described "mathy" kid who had a fascination with how the world worked. This early interest in the mechanics of the universe would lead him to the study astrophysics and embark on a career that would land him at one of the world's top universities teaching cosmology.
But as Zahn went on to become a world-recognized astrophysicist and cosmologist who would also work at places like SpaceX and Google, his interest in another childhood interest - food - continued to grow, especially as he realized the potential of complex mathematical models to effect change in the food system.
That realization led him to found Climax Foods, a company using artificial intelligence models to discover new, more sustainable plant-based ingredients that can replace those derived from animals. 
In the episode, Zahn talks about this journey from astrophysicist to future food entrepreneur and the work Climax has done using AI to create cheese with plant-based ingredients. 
Podcast Timeline: 
How did you get into the field of food? (3:01)




 
Transitioning from Google and tech to Climax (7:28)




 
The cold start problem in artificial intelligence (11:49)




 
Tackling dairy in a holistic way (18:18)




 
Building a consumer brand company vs platform company (22:30)




 
The opportunity for future food companies (25:42)
 




Can generative ai be used to create future foods? (29:15)

As a child, Oliver Zahn was a self-described "mathy" kid who had a fascination with how the world worked. This early interest in the mechanics of the universe would lead him to the study astrophysics and embark on a career that would land him at one of the world's top universities teaching cosmology.
But as Zahn went on to become a world-recognized astrophysicist and cosmologist who would also work at places like SpaceX and Google, his interest in another childhood interest - food - continued to grow, especially as he realized the potential of complex mathematical models to effect change in the food system.
That realization led him to found Climax Foods, a company using artificial intelligence models to discover new, more sustainable plant-based ingredients that can replace those derived from animals. 
In the episode, Zahn talks about this journey from astrophysicist to future food entrepreneur and the work Climax has done using AI to create cheese with plant-based ingredients. 
Podcast Timeline: 
How did you get into the field of food? (3:01)




 
Transitioning from Google and tech to Climax (7:28)




 
The cold start problem in artificial intelligence (11:49)




 
Tackling dairy in a holistic way (18:18)




 
Building a consumer brand company vs platform company (22:30)




 
The opportunity for future food companies (25:42)
 




Can generative ai be used to create future foods? (29:15)

34 min

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