Luca Turin’s Vibration Theory in Media

How does a nose generate the signals that the brain registers as smell? The conventional theory says it’s down to the different shapes of smelly molecules. But fruit flies have now distinguished between two molecules with identical shapes, providing the first experimental evidence to support a controversial theory that the sense of smell can operate by detecting molecular vibrations.” from New Scientist, “Fly sniffs molecule’s quantum vibrations.”

Those who followed the developments of the vibration theory of olfactory since the publication of Luca Turin’s work will be interested to know that there has been more work on the topic. The results and the discussions are worth reading.

More reading on the topic:
Do Vibrating Molecules Give Us Our Sense of Smell?

Flies Sniff Out Heavy Hydrogen

Nose Works Like a Scanning Tunneling Microscope

Thanks to Tania and Jake for the links!


  • Archived under: News


  • Maria145: Wow, interesting! I’m off to read. I’ve been a fan of Luca since Burr’s book came out. February 15, 2011 at 8:50am Reply

  • Jake: V, thanks for posting! I thought that it would be interesting for you and your readers. February 15, 2011 at 9:02am Reply

  • Michael: Thanks a lot for these links. I find Leslie Vosshall’s comment against testing a theory on flies before testing it on human very strange. Didn’t she herself engage in a similar subject? I looked up a few papers, and here is what I found:
    Vosshall LB
    The Molecular Logic of Olfaction in Drosophila
    Chem. Senses 26: 207-213 (2001)

    Vosshall LB
    Olfaction in Drosophila
    Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 10:498-503 (2000)

    Vosshall LB, Wong AM, Axel R.
    An Olfactory Sensory Map in the Fly Brain
    Cell 102: 147-159 (2000)

    Vosshall LB, Amrein H, Morozov PS, Rzhetsky A, Axel R
    A Spatial Map of Olfactory Receptor Expression in the Drosophila Antenna
    Cell 96: 725-736 (1999)

    For those who may not know, drosophila is a genus of small flies.

    On another topic, I am glad that you are back to writing, Victoria! I sorely missed your intelligent and beautiful reviews. February 15, 2011 at 1:32pm Reply

  • minette: i admittedly don’t give his perfume reviews much weight – they are fun reading, that’s it – but i always thought his vibration theory made sense on an intuitive level. would be cool if he turns out to be right. February 15, 2011 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Maria, I agree, very interesting and definitely worth reading for those who followed Luca’s work. February 15, 2011 at 10:08am Reply

  • Victoria: Jake, thanks again! February 15, 2011 at 10:09am Reply

  • Victoria: Michael, thank you, it is a pleasure to write again. Interesting about Vosshall’s research of olfaction in drosophila, gives a different perspective on her comments in those articles. February 15, 2011 at 6:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is always interesting to explore different views, in science, in fragrance, in art, etc! Plus, olfaction is such a fascinating, complex topic. February 15, 2011 at 6:20pm Reply

  • Elisabeth Casagrande: Hi. Thanks for these linkes and posting. Good material for consultation.Hugs. Elisabeth Casagrande-Perfumes Bighouse February 16, 2011 at 8:48am Reply

  • Victoria: I am glad that you liked them! February 16, 2011 at 8:49am Reply

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