The Science of Smell

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Luca Turin

University of Buckingham

Luca Turin is a perfume critic, biophysicist, popular lecturer, and author of several books on science, perfume, and culture, including the original Parfums : le guide (in French); The Secret of Scent (Faber & Faber; Ecco); Perfumes: The A–Z Guide and The Little Book of Perfumes with Tania Sanchez (Viking/Penguin; Profile); and Folio Columns: 2003–2014. Also the subject of the award-winning BBC documentary “A Code in the Nose” and the book The Emperor of Scent, he has lectured at TED, TEDx, Futurefest, and Google TechTalks, among others. He considers his finest hour (actually two hours) to have been a broadcast of his selection of classical music on BBC Radio 3 Saturday Classics.

Nearly awarded France’s prestigious medal of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres for his work as a writer, his nomination was abruptly rescinded when it emerged that he was, in reality, a scientist. Known for controversy, he is on record (Fantastic Man magazine) as in favor of the practice of wearing socks with sandals. His favorite song is “Wichita Lineman,” his favorite film, “Vanishing Point,” his favorite perfume, Mitsouko, though Brut is a close second. He has been awarded both the Prix Jasmin (France) and the Jasmine Prize (UK) for perfume writing. He is currently professor at the University of Buckingham, UK. Though he has Italian citizenship, he was born in Beirut and has lived in France, Switzerland, Italy, the UK, the US, Germany, and Greece.