organism odors ( was re: Ecoli?)

Rafael Maldonado rafael at howard.genetics.utah.edu
Tue Oct 10 01:37:38 EST 1995


On 9 Oct 1995, Walter Ogston wrote:

> Added to that as Kathy mentions our language is very poorly
> equipped to describe smells, and it is no wonder that this
> ability is not a regular part of microbiology training.  If it
> were to be so, students would have to spend a lot of time in
> labs smelling known and unknown cultures and figuring out what
> is what.  That could be fun and profitable, provided that a
> majority have the genetic constitution to discriminate.  

Actually, there are some professions where the smell is a very important 
fact. As we ask for methodological mind, perseverance o whatever (sure 
there are some characteristic things needed to be a microbiologist or 
scientist in general), it asked to wine samplers special smelling skills; 
which can be developed, trained and, of course, described. This wine 
sampler slang is indeed sophisticated, as complex as the smell sense.
Years of expertise may take a person's nose to distinguish between wine 
from different sides of a mountain in a vineyard, for example.


I reallly think that smell is not well considered now in science (it was 
in the past, though) because it is not sound very "scientific". We need 
some kind of cryptic languague and very expensive machines to look like 
scientific and important. And smelling is... not serious.

	Rafa

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