SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- How does your sense of smell actually work? Is it true that humans’ sense of smell is weak compared to that of animals?  Why does COVID-19 so often bring a loss of the sense of smell, and what is it like to live without it?

While the mechanics of hearing, touch and vision have long been understood, only in the twentieth-century did scientists begin to really unravel the mysteries of our senses of smell and taste.  And the experiences of COVID-19 patients have led to a surge of new insights and discoveries,  as many who contracted the virus not only lost the ability to smell (anosmia) , but also experienced troubling and bizarre alterations of what they did smell (parosmia and phantosmia).

On Thursday, April 22 at 7 p.m., Dr. Robert Pellegrino of the Monell Chemical Senses Center will join participants via Zoom to talk about what we know and we’re learning about smell.  He’ll share the ways our lives can be improved through ongoing research, including the development of a rapid COVID-19 diagnostic test based on smell.  He’ll discuss how the sense of smell can be lost through COVID-19 and other causes,  and the consequences of living without it.

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You can experience for yourself some of the ideas he’ll cover during the program. Registered participants can opt to pick up a kit containing an individual pack of jelly beans and a sample of a newly-developed smell test card that will be used to demonstrate the basic principles of odor perception.

Registration is required. The registration form and information about the library’s entire month of programming can be found at