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Smell is the most emotional and evocative of our senses: it can bring back memories faster and with more immediacy than a photograph - so why is it so little understood?
Armed with a hungry curiosity and a willingness to self-experiment, author Barney Shaw goes in search of the hidden meanings of smells. Using plain words to describe what he finds, he investigates the chemistry, psychology, history and future of this underappreciated sense.
Journeying around boatyards, perfume shops and memories, Shaw opens your nose to the world, breaking down "chords" of smells into their component notes and through them revealing new ways of understanding the spaces through which we move.
An investigation into the biology, psychology and history of smell, and a search for effective ways to put into words scents that we instantly relate to, but find strangely ineffable, THE SMELL OF FRESH RAIN includes a 200-entry thesaurus of succinct descriptions of common smells.
Journeying around boatyards, perfume shops and memories, Barney Shaw opens your nose ...
The Smell of Fresh Rain: The Unexpected Pleasures of our Most Elusive Sense: Shaw, Barney: Amazon.sg: Books
Now, let's think about a smell that many of us perceive as pleasant - the fresh, earthy smell of rain, which is actually referred to as 'petrichor'. A common question might be - why does rain have a smell, if it's only water molecules? The answer is that the odor we are perceiving is not actually the rain itself, but what is released when a rain drop hits the surface of earth.
The smell itself comes about when increased humidity - a pre-cursor to rain - fills the pores of stones (rocks, soil, etc) with tiny amounts of water. While it's only a minuscule amount, it is...
Walk through the first rainstorm of the season and it slowly hits you: that fresh, earthy smell.