Bob Holmes

Science Writer & Author

On the Look and Feel of Taste

‘When people talk about flavour, they usually focus on taste and smell. But there’s a third major flavour sense, as well, one that’s often overlooked: the physical sensations of touch, temperature and pain’, Bob Holmes writes in his book Flavour: A User’s Guide to Our Most Neglected Sense. In it the science writer reveals an entire world of taste professionals who deconstruct tastes into organic compounds, reactions with taste receptors and other knowledge based on the science of taste.

Despite all the science, taste is a highly individual experience based, also on associations. Yoghurt in a heavy bowl tastes more full. And the same scent smells good when it comes from a bottle which mentions ‘cheddar’ and bad when it reads ‘body odour’.

Holmes, who holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has published more than 800 articles about evolution, ecology, environment, genetics, biomedicine, anthropology, and other topics. Since 1994 he’s been a correspondent for New Scientist magazine, the world’s largest circulation newsweekly of science and technology.

Holmes taught for several years in the Science Writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and teaches Science Journalism at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island, Canada, his home country.

Ecology, New Scientist, Genetics, Biomedicine, Anthropology, Taste, Flavour, Author, Netherlands PINC.19