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Why We Love The Smell Of Old Books

There are certain strange smells that always seem to get us–old books, summer rain, gasoline….?! While they can be attached to fond memories, there’s more going on here. Trace breaks down the intoxicating chemistry behind several of our favorite funky aromas.

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Read More:
How Smell Works

“Smell is often our first response to stimuli. It alerts us to fire before we see flames.”

That “Old Book Smell” Is a Mix of Grass and Vanilla

“Smell is chemistry, and the chemistry of old books gives your cherished tomes their scent.”

Material Degradomics: On the Smell of Old Books

“We successfully transferred and applied -omics concepts to the study of material degradation, in particular historic paper.”


“Though the legal age to pump gas in Connecticut is 16, filling my Mom’s Ford Explorer was my second favorite activity growing up (after coloring).”

What Makes Rain Smell So Good?

“Step outside after the first storm after a dry spell and it invariably hits you: the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of fresh rain.”

The smell of freshly-cut grass is actually a plant distress call

“The lovely scent of cut grass is the reek of plant anguish: When attacked, plants release airborne chemical compounds.”

What Exactly Is That New Car Smell?

“The smell of a new car is intoxicating.”

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The Smell of Attraction:
Farm Stink Makes You Sick:
Vines Hate You :


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