Synopses & Reviews
The Secret of Scent
is a book about science by way of art, in which the author's passion for perfume leads him to the scientific mystery of what makes one molecule smell of garlic while another smells of rose.
Readers who know Luca Turin as the lively central figure in Chandler Burr's The Emperor of Scent will remember the ongoing debate between two competing theories of smell: one based on molecular shape, the other on molecular vibrations. Now Turin himself describes in detail the science, evidence, and long history of this debate, from the beginnings of organic chemistry to the present day, and pays homage to those before him who got it right.
This fascinating and accessible account will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered about smell, still the most mysterious of the senses.
One man's passion for perfume leads him to explore one of the most intriguing scientific mysteries: What makes one molecule smell of garlic while another smells of rose?
In this witty, engrossing, and wildly original volume, author Luca Turin explores the two competing theories of smell. Is scent determined by molecular shape or molecular vibrations? Turin describes in fascinating detail the science, the evidence, and the often contentious debate—from the beginnings of organic chemistry to the present day—and pays homage to the scientists who went before. With its uniquely accessible and captivating approach to science via art, The Secret of Scent will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered about the most mysterious of the five senses.
About the Author
Luca Turin holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of London. Since 1996 he has worked on primary olfactory reception and the prediction of odor character. In 2001 he became chief technical officer of Flexitral, where he uses his theory of olfaction to design new fragrances and flavor molecules.