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  1. #31

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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Having read the new Burr Book, The Perfect Scent for an interview with Chandler for Sniffapalooza Magazine, I will tell you that The Perfect Scent will be the expose book you were hoping for.

    As for The Emperor of Scent, It doesnt really matter if he's a scientist or not. He most certainly does have business writing about it as long as all his facts are correct and researched. No author would write a book without doing the research. The Emperor of Scent was fascinating to me, but I have a science background.

    Did the book [emperor] make you think about a possible other theory of smell? Or did it perhaps introduce you to the science of smell and both of the theories for the first time? Well then, mission accomplished. This book never promised to be a book about the perfume industry. Reading the back cover will tell you as much. So Im not quite sure what you thought you were getting yourself into. The book is about a man. Luca Turin.
    Last edited by MarkDavid; 17th December 2007 at 02:24 PM.
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  2. #32

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkDavid View Post
    The book is about a man. Luca Turin.
    Problem is why should I care about Luca Turin? Yes, he does appear to have a extraordinary nose for smell and can describe smell very accurately and intelligently. But Burr fails to impress upon me as to why I should care about Turin's scientific theory.
    "I exist for myself, and for those to whom my unquenchable thirst for freedom gives everything, but also for everyone, since insofar as I am able to love - I love everyone. Of noble hearts, I am the noblest - and the most generous of those that yearn to give love in return. - I am a human being, I love death and I love life."

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  3. #33
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by manicboy View Post
    Problem is why should I care about Luca Turin? Yes, he does appear to have a extraordinary nose for smell and can describe smell very accurately and intelligently. But Burr fails to impress upon me as to why I should care about Turin's scientific theory.
    Because the theory changes how we think about the sense of smell? To me the most important aspect of the book wasn't Turin's theory so much as the revelation as to how "shape" theory has nothing to stand on. I remember being taught the shape theory as a scientific "truth", and I'm not even remotely connected to the sciences.
    If it's not a subject that interests you... why did you bother reading the book? It's not like it claimed to be about anything else.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    I look at the book as a mere story. A nice story to read. An interesting one. Do I count on the book to impress on me a new care, a new concern, a new moral force for something? I don't. I read of an interesting character with an interesting history doing interesting things in an interesting subculture. (Subculture for a lack of a better word.) Along the journey I got a lot out of fragrance discussion, which was the richest element in the book for me. I didn't read it to become a scientist, a specialist, or to have my thinking and caring changed. I recently picked up a book on the history of the city of Alexandria, Egypt. I'm reading it to learn something about something I knew nothing about. Not to have my life and moral sense changed. The writer doesn't need to to persuade me that I ought to care more about Alexandria than I do for satisfaction of my reader's curiosity. It sounds like Manicboy's curiosity was not furthered by the science writing in Burr's book. Well, neither was mine, but I read and enjoyed the story and the trek through science that was a part of the story.
    --Chris
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  5. #35

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    To me the most important aspect of the book wasn't Turin's theory so much as the revelation as to how "shape" theory has nothing to stand on. I remember being taught the shape theory as a scientific "truth", and I'm not even remotely connected to the sciences.
    There is no "shape theory"; the term is used but it is an extreme oversimplification. The currently accepted theory, the one that people sometimes refer to as the "shape theory" would be better called the "odorant receptor binding theory" The "odorant receptor binding theory" has many legs to stand on; there is little chance that it is incorrect. Axel and Buck were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discovery of odorant receptors ...".
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html

    Turin's tunneling electron spectroscope theory of odor was interesting but has no legs to stand on.
    Last edited by dcampen; 17th December 2007 at 06:05 PM.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  6. #36

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by manicboy View Post
    I just finished reading this book and must say it was a big disappointment. I kind of half-heartedly expected a big expose on the inner workings of the perfume industry and how fragrances are created in the lab. What I got was a confusing science lesson in smell theory. And the question is why should I care if smell “vibrates”? I’d rather read Turin’s fragrance reviews (in English, please!!!) than put up with anymore vibration theory.
    By the end of the book, those vibration theory pleas certainly became tedious.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    There is no "shape theory"; the term is used but it is an extreme oversimplification. The currently accepted theory, the one that people sometimes refer to as the "shape theory" would be better called the "odorant receptor binding theory" The "odorant receptor binding theory" has many legs to stand on; there is little chance that it is incorrect. Axel and Buck were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discovery of odorant receptors ...".
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
    Well, I'm willing to hear both sides: are there any books you recommend that address some of the issues raised in The Emperor Of Scent?
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 17th December 2007 at 06:25 PM.

  8. #38

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    What issues? As DustB says: "... look at the book as a mere story". Don't take it seriously.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    What issues? As DustB says: "... look at the book as a mere story". Don't take it seriously.
    Okay, then if you think what he said is complete BS, could you please recommend a book on how scent does work.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    I didn't mean to suggest Burr's work of non-fiction was fiction. I know I'm not aware of other general readership books about how the nose works, but I imagine there are probably New York Times clips, and other newspaper or feature stories written about the Nobel prize winners that Dcampen mentions. Those writings probably give some description of who what why where and how qualities of the scent theory for which the prize was given.

    I'd search but I'm a lazy person. I'd start there though.
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    --Chris
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  11. #41
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by DustB View Post
    I didn't mean to suggest Burr's work of non-fiction was fiction. I know I'm not aware of other general readership books about how the nose works, but I imagine there are probably New York Times clips, and other newspaper or feature stories written about the Nobel prize winners that Dcampen mentions. Those writings probably give some description of who what why where and how qualities of the scent theory for which the prize was given.
    Thank you, but I'd rather have to wade through too much science rather than too little, if you see what I mean.
    I'll be honest; Luca Turin's theory had me fairly convinced, especially with that example of a newly synthesized chemical mentioned near the end of the book. However, if it's all a lie, I'd really like to know the truth, and the more I learn the better equipped I am at deciding for myself.

  12. #42

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    I don't know of any book.

    For an overview you could read the Nobel Prize press release:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
    or the Presentation Speech:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...on-speech.html

    Or you could read the scientific paper referenced in the Nobel press release:
    Buck, L. and Axel, R. (1991) Cell, vol. 65, 175-187.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  13. #43
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Thank you, but I'd rather have to wade through too much science rather than too little, if you see what I mean.
    I'll be honest; Luca Turin's theory had me fairly convinced, especially with that example of a newly synthesized chemical mentioned near the end of the book. However, if it's all a lie, I'd really like to know the truth, and the more I learn the better equipped I am at deciding for myself.
    Right you are, GB, right you are!

    Wish I could help.
    Very best luck,
    --Chris
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  14. #44

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    There is no "shape theory"; the term is used but it is an extreme oversimplification. The currently accepted theory, the one that people sometimes refer to as the "shape theory" would be better called the "odorant receptor binding theory" The "odorant receptor binding theory" has many legs to stand on; there is little chance that it is incorrect. Axel and Buck were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discovery of odorant receptors ...".
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html

    Turin's tunneling electron spectroscope theory of odor was interesting but has no legs to stand on.
    From the link you gave:
    "All the odorant receptors are related proteins but differ in certain details, explaining why they are triggered by different odorous molecules. Each receptor consists of a chain of amino acids that is anchored into the cell membrane and traverses it seven times. The chain creates a binding pocket where the odorant can attach. When that happens, the shape of the receptor protein is altered, leading to G protein activation."

    This sounds like a variant of shape theory to me ?! Can someone explain in layman's terms how Axel/Buck explain, what according to EoS was Turin's main contention - that "shape" theory can't explain why identically structured molecules (but with different "vibrations") smell differently? In other words, if Turin is wrong, what really is the distinguishing quality that makes molecule x bind to receptor x1 instead of y1 in the first place?
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  15. #45

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    This sounds like a variant of shape theory to me ?! Can someone explain in layman's terms how Axel/Buck explain, what according to EoS was Turin's main contention - that "shape" theory can't explain why identically structured molecules (but with different "vibrations") smell differently? In other words, if Turin is wrong, what really is the distinguishing quality that makes molecule x bind to receptor x1 instead of y1 in the first place?
    Yes, the theory for which Axel and Buck received the Nobel prize is what you are referring to as "shape theory". A better term for Axel&Buck's theory would be the "receptor binding theory".

    According to the Axel/Buck theory there are thousands of different odorant receptors. For each specific receptor only certain substances will bind to this receptor and elicite a response. Perception of odor then depends on which specific receptors a substance binds to.

    In the Turin theory there is only a single odor receptor type. Perception of odor then depends on each odorant somehow eliciting a different response from this single receptor type via electron tunneling spectroscopy.
    Last edited by dcampen; 17th December 2007 at 07:10 PM.
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  16. #46
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    I don't know of any book.
    Perhaps that is part of the problem. Whatever can be said about Luca Turin, he certainly found an audience.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    For an overview you could read the Nobel Prize press release:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
    or the Presentation Speech:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...on-speech.html

    Or you could read the scientific paper referenced in the Nobel press release:
    Buck, L. and Axel, R. (1991) Cell, vol. 65, 175-187.
    Thank you. However I must admit that -

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    From the link you gave:
    "All the odorant receptors are related proteins but differ in certain details, explaining why they are triggered by different odorous molecules. Each receptor consists of a chain of amino acids that is anchored into the cell membrane and traverses it seven times. The chain creates a binding pocket where the odorant can attach. When that happens, the shape of the receptor protein is altered, leading to G protein activation."

    This sounds like a variant of shape theory to me ?! Can someone explain in layman's terms how Axel/Buck explain, what according to EoS was Turin's main contention - that "shape" theory can't explain why identically structured molecules (but with different "vibrations") smell differently? In other words, if Turin is wrong, what really is the distinguishing quality that makes molecule x bind to receptor x1 instead of y1 in the first place?
    - sums up my feelings too. That's the big question I'm left with, and those articles didn't answer it.
    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    According to the Axel/Buck theory there are thousands of different odorant receptors. For each specific receptor only certain substances will bind to this receptor and elicite a response. Perception of odor then depends on which specific receptors a substance binds to.
    That doesn't really solve the identical molecule problem as it relates to receptor binding theory.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 17th December 2007 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  17. #47

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    - sums up my feelings too. That's the big question I'm left with, and those articles didn't answer it.
    Your question is that you don't understand how receptor binding works?

    You could read the abstract here:
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/c...TRY=1&SRETRY=0
    Last edited by dcampen; 17th December 2007 at 07:19 PM.
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  18. #48
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Sorry, that link doesn't seem to be working for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    Your question is that you don't understand how receptor binding works?
    No, my question is how can a receptor tell two structurally identical molecules apart?

  19. #49

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    No, my question is how can a receptor tell two structurally identical molecules apart?
    A substance binds to a receptor via Van der Waals forces. Different molecules even with similar structure but a different arrangement of atoms will have different binding potentials. It is just like protein folding.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  20. #50
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    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    A substance binds to a receptor via Van der Waals forces. Different molecules even with similar structure but a different arrangement of atoms will have different binding potentials. It is just like protein folding.
    Thank you. That was closer to what I was looking for.

  21. #51

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    Thank you. That was closer to what I was looking for.
    Me too
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  22. #52

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Van dar waals is an attraction between non-polar molecules. In van dar waals as you know, there is an attraction created by dipole moments. I am not so sure that van dar waals is the way to describe the interaction between receptor sites and the molecules. Do non-covalent interactions play a role? Do signal transducers play a role? We all know that receptor sites are highly specific; think of hand in glove analogy or key in lock. Non-covalent binding interactions play an important role in Nature. Proteins rely on hydrogen bonding for their secondary and tertiary structure, the self-assembly of enzyme clusters and the molecular recognition of hormones and synthetics at receptor binding sites come to mind. In any case, proteins are negatively charged so the question raises in regard to hydrogen bonding. Just something for you to think about (I am secretly spawning a debate, hehehehe).

  23. #53

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent - Gimme a Break!

    Anything vibrating gets my vote, .... even scent molecules.

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