The theory that our sense of smell has its basis in quantum physics events is gaining traction, say researchers.
The idea remains controversial, but scientists reporting at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, are slowly unpicking how it could work.
The key, they say, is tiny packets of energy, or quanta, lost by electrons.
Experiments using tiny wires show that as electrons move on proteins within the nose, odour molecules could absorb these quanta and thereby be detected. (emphasis mine)
What are these magical quanta you doth speak upon, oh, great BBC science journalist?
The presentation itself seems interesting, but the reporter's repeated use of quanta annoys the hell out of me. There's a much better term for a "tiny packets of energy, or quanta, lost by electrons", a term everyone knows and loves, and that term is photons.
PHOTONS we are talking about PHOTONS. Why not just come out and say photons? Surely the point of pop-sci journalism is to make things as accessible as possible, not to cloak with jargon.
Ever since that goddamn TV show, every pseudo-intellectual journalist and politician has had a hard-on trying to work quantum into anything they possibly can.
|Don't hate me because I'm smug|
Addendum: upon closer look the related paper refers to phonons something which I know nothing about, so maybe I'm totally out of my league and wrong here. When I hear a mainstream media science reporter referring to energy lost by electrons as quanta I just immediately assume they are just too pretentious or ignorant to write photons. Also, the article is saying that smell could be a quantum phenomena as opposed to the lock and key idea that it is molecular shape that drives smell. Meh, I'm probably totally wrong about all of this, but Quantum Leap still sucked.