The science of scent: One smelly researcher decodes it all


Why does the smell of lavender make you peacefully fall asleep while a whiff a rotting milk can bring your lunch right back where it came from?

Scent scientist Avery Gilbert has all the answers. Or at least some of them.

Gilbert will be speak about "The Seduction of Scent" at the University of Minnesota's Bell Museum next month.

Gilbert has been researching scene for more than 30 years and is the author of "What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life." He even co-authored a 1986 National Geographic Smell Survey that analyzed age and gender differences in smelling abilities. He's even helped design scents.

More details from the U of M:

Avery will speak on the critical role smell plays in our lives, how the sense of smell is able to tempt and repel us and how it makes us part of the chemical conversation between plants and pollinators, herbivores and predators. Avery will be introduced by University of Minnesota entomologist and nationally recognized bee expert, professor Marla Spivak, who will explain the vital role pollinators play in our love affair with luscious scents. Following the presentation, participants are invited to delight in the luxuries of scent in a reception featuring locally produced wines and desserts.
Gilbert will speak at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 18 at the Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Bell Museum members get a $10 discount. For more information, call (612) 624-9050.

Here is a little preview of Gilbert. He appeared on the CBS to talk about smells.

So what smells do you love and what smells gross you out? Do people you know have differing opinions on scent? What's the best and worst thing you've ever smelled?