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November 22 2012

New smell discovered: It's 'olfactory white' as in white noise


Scientists have discovered a new smell, but you may have to go to a laboratory to experience it yourself.

The smell is dubbed "olfactory white," because it is the nasal equivalent of white noise, researchers reported Monday (Nov. 19) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Just as white noise is a mixture of many different sound frequencies and white light is a mixture of many different wavelengths, olfactory white is a mixture of many different smelly compounds.

In fact, the key to olfactory white is not the compounds themselves, researchers found, but the fact that there are a lot of them.

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