Rogue Odor Theory

A PR release for a study by the University College London (UCL), via the London Centre of Nanotechnology (LCN), seemingly lends validation to Luca Turin’s controversial vibration theory of smell. (From December, but I only just noticed it, via a ScienceDaily notice.) It’s been interesting to watch the back and forth on smell theory the past several years, though admittedly for the non-scientific perfume nut, the interest is often shaded by what sometimes erupts as a verbal fisticuffs over the competing smell theories. Heh. (Rubbernecking ranks amongst the most popular of human hobbies, er, foibles, after all.) But it’s the debate itself, the discussion, that can drive further questioning and thus answers; It gives one hope that we might see a fleshed out and resolvable answer in our lifetime. And it’s the neat thing about scientific thinking: challenging both the prevailing and new theories can play an essential role in seeking solutions, rather than necessarily being a desultory action. Okay, okay, so *I* think that’s neat.

UCL PR Release: Rogue odour theory could be right

Physorg.com article: Quantum mechanics may explain how humans smell

Of course, no one has yet tried to prove or disprove my own favorite theory suggested by Ambrose Bierce:

“It has been observed that one’s nose is never so happy as when thrust into the affairs of another, from which some physiologists have drawn the inference that the nose is devoid of the sense of smell.”

The Devil’s Dictionary, definition of Nose, n.

Perhaps not a “rogue theory,” but certainly a theory from one of the best rogues of all time. (Incidently, because it has fallen out of copyright restrictions, The Devil’s Dictonary can be downloaded in full from Project Gutenberg. It can also be bought quite cheaply as a Dover Thrift Edition if, like me, you prefer to read in print.)

2 Responses to “Rogue Odor Theory”

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    Said this on February 24th, 2007 at 11:39pm:

    Now this definition, I loved! Greetings

  2. Get a Gravatar!


    Said this on February 27th, 2007 at 12:03am:

    Hi Andy, hope your voyage over the ocean is uneventful, and that the outcome of your trip is completely successful. I love Ambrose Bierce, he\’s one of the more delightfully snarky American writers :)

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