Monday, September 8, 2008

On Old Olympus’ Towering Top

Generations of medical students memorized the names of cranial nerves I through XII with some version of the rhyme, “On Old Olympus’ Towering Top A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops.” The clues lie in the first letter of each word, which matches that of the corresponding nerve: Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, and so on. The olfactory nerve is Cranial Nerve I, hence the name of this blog.

Without ever intending to, I’ve devoted most of my professional lifetime to the study of odor perception and everything that goes with it: from synaesthesia, olfactory memory, mood and emotion, to fragrance chemistry, neuroanatomy, and molecular biology. I've also become knowledgeable about product development, brand management, marketing, corporate behavior and entrepreneurship.

What I love about the sense of smell is the interplay between science and popular culture. I’ve written about this in my book and I’m always finding new and intriguing examples. When I do, I intend to blog about them here on First Nerve.

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