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Berkeley High School Science Department


Using Nanoscale Tools, Can We Replicate the Sense of Smell?

Monday, March 20, 2006
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Berkeley High School
Florence Schwimley Little Theater
Allston Way between Milvia and MLK, Jr., Way

Dr. Arun Majumdar

Dr. Arun Majumdar
Professor, UC Berkeley, Mechanical Engineering Director, Berkeley Nanosciences &
Nanoengineering Institute Staff Scientist, Berkeley Lab

When molecules, found in the air we breath or in food we eat, bind to the receptors in our nose, a whole chain of reactions occurs.  This creates a pattern of signals that our brain associates with a certain type of smell.  Can we replicate this artificially?  Our attempt to do so has come from a highly unlikely source - viruses.  We are using viruses to come up with artificial receptors that can, someday, help in creating artificial smelling devices that might serve as signals, sensors, detectors, or biological triggering mechanisms.

Please join us to hear Dr. Arun Majumdar, who holds the the Almy and Agnes Maynard Chair in Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley, and is a scientific researcher at Berkeley Lab, describe how a nanoscale examination of the sense of smell helps us to understand and define the function and potential artificial use of our sense of smell.