On the Scent: A journey through the science of smell

Hardcover | April 12, 2016

byPaolo Pelosi

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In humans, the perception of odours adds a fourth dimension to life, from the scent of flowers, the aroma of foods, and all the subtle smells in the environment. But how many types of odours can we distinguish? Why do we like the food we like? Which are the most powerful odorants, and how welldoes the human sense of smell perform compared with that of a dog or a butterfly? The sense of smell is highly complex, and such complexity discouraged scientists for a long time, leaving the world of smell in an atmosphere of mystery. Only recently, thanks to the new tools furnished by molecular biology and neuroscience, are we beginning to answer these questions, uncovering thehidden secrets of our sense of smell, and decoding the language used by most animals to communicate. In this book, Paolo Pelosi, one of the leading figures in the development of the science of olfaction, recounts how the chemical alphabet behind smell has been pieced together over the past threedecades. Drawing on anecdotes from his own scientific career, and celebrating the rich variety of smells from herbs to flowers to roast coffee and freshly baked bread, he weaves together an engaging and remarkable account of the science behind the most elusive of our senses.

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From the Publisher

In humans, the perception of odours adds a fourth dimension to life, from the scent of flowers, the aroma of foods, and all the subtle smells in the environment. But how many types of odours can we distinguish? Why do we like the food we like? Which are the most powerful odorants, and how welldoes the human sense of smell perform compa...

Paolo Pelosi is currently Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing, China. His research work has been dedicated to the study of olfaction and includes the use of organic conducting polymers as sensors for an electronic nose, in a study performed in collaboration with Krishna Persaud at the Un...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:April 12, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198719051

ISBN - 13:9780198719052

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPART ONE - Smells and Molecules1. Molecules in the air2. Smells and molecules3. A walk among smells4. The olfactory codePART TWO - Messengers of sex and danger5. Fatal attraction6. The smell of dominancePART THREE - Proteins and Smells7. Odorants meet the proteins8. A family of versatile macromolecules9. From odorants to emotionsPART FOUR - At the edge of the imagination10. Science or magic?11. Digital olfactionConclusionReferencesIndex