Rose (Rosa damascena)

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Picture it...

We all recognise the sweet, delicate scent of the rose; that eternal symbol of love, passion and romance. So much so, in fact, that cosmetics companies around the world recreate this exquisite fragrance in their perfumes, lotions and bubble baths. But how can we capture something as intangible and subjective as a scent? And can something created in the lab ever smell as sweet as the real thing?

1. The main image shows rose petals in and around some common laboratory glassware, a round-bottomed flask on the left and a beaker on the right. In the background you can see additional laboratory equipment and a fumehood where a lot of chemical reactions are performed under an extractor fan to prevent the accumulation of fumes and smells in the laboratory. While the roses used for this picture were bought in the supermarket, the Damask Rose (Rosa damascena) is the…

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