Measuring Smell: A Metric Approach to Olfaction

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room LL21E (San Jose Convention Center)
Noam Sobel, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Exactly 100 years ago, Alexander Graham Bell asked “Can you measure the difference between one kind of smell and another?” With this keen challenge in mind, we set out to develop a metric for smell. Using human perceptual judgments and computational methods, we have discovered the chemical rules underlying olfaction. In a series of experiments we found this metric predicts perception of novel odors, the neural activity of olfactory systems, and the discovery of entirely new olfactory phenomena.