Science of Scent

Earlier this year I decided I’d produce a short science doc on the science behind our sense of smell and I thought one way to do this was to use perfume/fragrance as the hook – this is something most people use everyday and, stating the obvious, people know what it is and thus can instantly relate. I also wanted to avoid creating a “science encyclopedia” and having perfume as the hook I thought I’d be able to create a much more compelling piece which hopefully engages and attracts people who would not otherwise tune into a science doc.

I was fortunate enough to interview Bostonian perfume designer Neil Morris from Neil Morris Fragrances. He was wonderful to interview and designed a custom perfume blend just for me – perfume designers are also referred to as a “nose” because they have acutely sensitive noses that allows them to create beautiful fragrances from a combination of scents.

I was also lucky to interview biophysicist Luca Turin. He has a rather controversial theory on the mechanism behind how humans smell and is currently at MIT working on a DARPA funded project to develop an electronic nose – you may have seen his TED talk. His work in the area of quantum biology is rather complex so I do hope I was able to communicate his theory well.

The video is complete and I’ll post it up here very soon.

My friend Eta and her cousin helped me with the filming of these interviews. Unfortunately, we did have some technical problems with the mics we used but hey you have to roll with what you have and since we didn’t pay for the equipment it was hard to complain afterwards!

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One response to “Science of Scent

  1. I was thinking about science of scent and was wondering if you have any thoughts on taste and smell and combinations of tastes. For example we’re led to believe that smell influences taste because we can apparently only distinguish between: salt, sour, sweet, bitter. Different areas of the tongue and different areas of the mouth pick up different tastes and our scence of smell apparently helps to distinguish the above four groups further. The question though is why does having a glass of red wine which is rather aromatic and can be fully of lovely berry flavours highten the taste of chocolate?

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