Jasper de Groot staat voor de klas en geeft uitleg aan basisschoolleerlingen
Jasper de Groot staat voor de klas en geeft uitleg aan basisschoolleerlingen

Explaining the social functions of smell to primary school children

In 2023, dr. Jasper de Groot received a Radboud Science Award for his research on ''Er hangt iets in de lucht… (There’s something in the air…)'', where he developed inquiry-based activities for primary schools in cooperation with the Wetenschapsknooppunt (Science Education Hub).

On Sunday, 17 March, he visited IMC Weekendschool Nijmegen and showed the children what his research was about by doing a number of activities together with them. The aim is to promote children's curiosity and inquisitive attitude and introduce them to science at an early age.

About the research

Jasper de Groot investigates “the chemistry between us” – the social function of the human olfactory organ. In his extensive multidisciplinary research, he delves deep into psycho(physiology), neuroscience (fMRI), genetics, and chemical analysis to reveal intriguing insights. This has led to the discovery of a possibly universal molecular basis for smells related to fear. The research sheds light on the complex world of human chemical communication, particularly the effects of smells on behavior and emotions. Working with a consortium of researchers, he revealed the critical role of loss of smell as the most reliable predictor of COVID-19 infection, and delved into the lingering consequences of COVID-19 loss of smell. He is currently studying the complex interplay of scent in romantic relationships as well. 

Basisschoolleerling die een proefje aan het doen is in een klaslokaal

In class

During the in-class project, students took a journey to assess their own sense of smell. They explored the nuanced changes in sweat odor under the influence of fear and conducted hands-on experiments by mixing different molecules to create unique scents.

Radboud Science Awards

Each year, the Radboud Science Awards enable researchers to adapt their scientific breakthroughs into learning and teaching materials for elementary students, in collaboration with the Science Education Hub Radboud University.

Contact information

Are you also interested in sharing your research with children? Then contact the infowkru [at] ru.nl (Wetenschapsknooppunt) (Science Education Hub).