The Secret of Scent Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell by Luca Turin

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  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • Trimsize: 5.313 in (w) x 8 in (h) x 0.505 in (d)
  • Pages: 224

About the Book

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.


Critical Praise

The best science book of the year so far. — BBC Radio 4

A rich sensory trip … this indispensable guide to all things smelly is as good as it gets. — Sunday Telegraph

Turin writes brilliantly, with the easy confidence of the expert and the infectious enthusiasm of the true amateur. — Tim Radford, The Guardian



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.


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