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The Science of Scent

 
 
Reply Wed 12 Nov, 2008 01:13 am
This week's newsletter from TED has an interesting new crop of conference videos.

I found this one very interesting and revealing. We're sure paying a lot for a handful of smelly atom combinations. I wonder how many artificial scents are being marketed as the rare, highly expensive real thing.

Quote:
Biophysicist Luca Turin studies the science of smell. He's the author of Perfumes: The Guide, and the subject of Chandler Burr's 2003 book The Emperor of Scent. His next project: developing an artificial nose.

Biophysicist Luca Turin studies the science of smell. He's a leading proponent of the vibrational theory of smell -- the idea that when our noses pick up a scent, we're reacting to the vibrational properties of the molecule we're smelling. (This is in opposition to the shape theory of smell, which imagines smelly molecules fitting into conveniently shaped receptors in our noses.)

His work on olfactory reception and the prediction of what a particular molecule will smell like has led to an interesting line of work: designing new fragrances and flavor molecules, as part of the firm Flexitral, where he is CTO. Coming up, he'll be part of a team in Biomedical Engineering at MIT, headed by Professor Shuguang Zhang, to develop an artificial nose made with natural receptors as part of DARPA's just-launched RealNose program.
He's the author of several books on scent, including Perfumes: The Guide and The Secret of Scent, and is the subject of Chandler Burr's 2003 book The Emperor of Scent.


http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/393
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