Big Picture Science – Air Apparent

by Gary Niederhoff on October 22, 2018

Big Picture Science – Air Apparent

Whether you yawn, gasp, sniff, snore, or sigh, you’re availing yourself of our very special atmosphere. It’s easy to take this invisible chemical cocktail for granted, but it’s not only essential to your existence: it unites you and every other lifeform on the planet, dead or alive. The next breath you take likely includes molecules exhaled by Julius Caesar or Eleanor Roosevelt.

And for some animals, air is an information superhighway. Dogs navigate with their noses. Their sniffing snouts help them to identify their owners, detect trace amounts of drugs, and even sense some diseases. Find out what a dog’s nose knows, and why no amount of bathing and dousing in perfume can mask your personal smelliness.

Plus, why your own schnoz is key to not only enjoying a fine Bordeaux, but to survival of our species.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Sam Kean / Discovering Air
Part 2: Molly and the Chocolate Olfactory
Part 3: Alexandra Horowitz / Dog Sense
Part 4: Rachel Herz / Scent Sense

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