" We have shown that if a female of the fly Drosophila, a fruit fly, has been in a glass of wine so we can feel it on the smell of a substance it has is secreted in very small quantities, only a few nanograms. It is absolutely astounding that our sense of smell is so sensitive. It shows that the saying among wine connoisseurs – that a fly falls into a glass of wine can ruin the taste – true.
" I have a coffee mug that says ”I love the smell of jetfuel in the morning”. Certainly, you can think about the smell of petrol, but would never drink it. If you see a cup with a dark liquid, you can't be sure if it is coffee or gasoline. But you feel it on the smell. The sense of smell works at a distance, and is absolutely reliable. ”Smells are surer than sounds or sights”, as Rudyard Kipling wrote.Peter Witzgall. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt
" We want to understand why our sense of smell is sensitive to this substance that the flies use for communication before mating. The hypothesis is that we have a private doftreceptor for that particular topic, but we have not published the results yet. We have also seen that a test panel from Systembolaget could feel the difference in african Drosophila and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which live with us and probably followed us when we left Africa, as our first pets.
" I got the lecture about the discovery at both Harvard and MIT when we received the award in Boston. It was both interesting and fun, and is as close to fame as you can get. At first I had declined the prize because I suspected that someone tried to ridicule our research. But I'm glad I changed my mind. It was a reminder that science still is something creative.