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A Justification Of Luca Turin’s Vibrational Theory Of Scent

1865 words - 7 pages

Science is used to explain everything. However, there are some topics which are disputed in the scientific community. One such topic is the proposed question, “How do we, humans, smell?” As for the answer to this question, there are two main theories which should be mentioned. The first is a theory based on the idea that the shape of a molecule determines it’s scent in the human nose (TED). The second such answer is the theory that smell is linked to the vibrational frequency of a molecule (TED). This latter notion is one argued effectively by Luca Turin, a biophysicist who is part of the perfuming business (TED). Turin is the chief modern scientist when it comes to this vibrational theory, though he was not the first to realize the idea’s possibility as an accepted piece of scientific information (TED). Not only is he experienced when it comes to the matter, having written multiple titles, such as The Secret of Scent, but he also discussed by other authors, as seen in The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr (TED). Clearly, he is a man that is has had much influence in discovering information about how the sense of smell works. Moreover, he will continue to expand his discoveries as he has plans to take part in the attempt to create an artificial nose at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (TED). With this in mind, it is without a doubt that Turin’s theory of scent based on the vibrational properties of molecules is true.
To understand why this vibrational theory of scent is fact, one must first comprehend both theories mentioned earlier. The first, the molecular shape theory, was first brought up by scientists in the mid-twentieth century, such as Amoore (Chemistry 257), but has continued to be elaborated on by others even recently, including Boelen, Ohloff, Rossiter, and Kraft (TED). Over time, their ideas have come to mean the notion that our noses contain olfactory receptors which molecules, or odorants, either fit or do not fit based on their shape and size (Chemistry 257). Then, when this happens, a signal travels to the brain which comprehends the information as a scent (Chemistry 257). In contrast, although the vibrational theory accounts for receptors in some form, it acknowledges that these receptors interact with the vibrational properties of molecules rather than the geometric properties (Luca Turin's Theory of the Nature of the Sense of Smell). In turn, different vibrational frequencies by molecules have different scents, while molecules with the same frequency have the same scent (TED). This is important as it is the basis of Turin’s argument in favor of his findings and research. In sum, with the information above, one can begin to realize that the sense of smell is certainly determined by vibrational properties of molecules.
A point made by Turin which justifies his ideas as more acceptable is the fact that his theory is more productive and beneficial to scientists. To explain, “A theory offers a model...to describe nature...

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