Luca Turin, is the title character in a book I reviewed: The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession and the Last Mystery of the Senses by Chandler Burr New York: Random House (2003). Reviewed by James Vaughn Kohl, Aurora, CO, USA.
It does not surprise me that this article about his work “Quantum explanation for how we smell gets new support” reads somewhat like my book review. It takes many years to gain acceptance — even of the most obvious of new concepts. No matter the logic, the concept could still be wrong. And who is willing to risk their academic reputation by siding with someone who might be wrong? If he’s right, however, there’s always time to begin support — when others do so.
Dr. Turin was kind enough to contact me after he read my review and he politely responded specifically to my comments about publication in Nature. I wrote:
“Publication in a prestigious journal like Nature, is a lofty goal — one that is beyond the grasp of most previously unpublished academics, despite their credentials. Turin thinks that the deck is stacked against him, personally. A pointless year-long battle between Turin, reviewers, and members of the Nature publication staff ensues.” (p. 150)
He told me that he had published in this prestigious journal in 1977. Carbon dioxide reversibly abolishes ionic communication between cells of early amphibian embryo. Turin L, Warner A. Nature. 1977 Nov 3;270(5632):56-7.
I hope he has the opportunity to do so, again — perhaps, without the battle. Much more is at stake than the development of better electronic noses.