Smelling Like a Rose

Smelling Like a Rose

Sunday, March 17, 2024
| Psalm 51:1-12

King David messed up big time. His life stinks, and he knows it.

Of all the features of the human face, the humble nose is a frequent butt of jokes. You’ve heard them before:

  • When I’m lying down, it works as a sundial.
  • My nose is so big I was doing the backstroke, and the lifeguard had the beach evacuated thinking it was a shark.
  • My nose is so big that when I sneeze, everyone runs for cover.
  • My nose arrives at my destination 10 minutes before I do.

But the nose is critical for smelling. The nose knows.

This knowledge is called the science of olfaction — the detection and identification of airborne chemicals and scents. Olfaction research is a rapidly growing discipline that not only studies how we recognize the whiff of a dead skunk lying on the side of the road, but also studies the ever-creative ways humans have of making themselves or their surroundings smell good.

The science of smell is more than a reference to the emollients, ointments, creams, lotions, sprays and gels that ensure our armpits are not offensive, or ...

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