Neuroscientist & leading world expert on the psychological science of smell
Rachel Herz, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist and leading world expert on the psychological science of smell. She is also actively involved in research related to taste, food and motivated behavior. Dr. Herz has published 85 original research papers, received numerous awards and grants, co-authored scholarly handbooks, and is an adjunct professor at Brown University and part-time faculty at Boston College. She is also a professional consultant to various industries, frequent public speaker, and an expert witness in legal cases. Dr. Herz is the author of several academic and popular science books including the college textbook Sensation & Perception (2018; Oxford University Press), The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell (2007; Harper Collins), which was selected as a finalist for the “2009 AAAS Prize for Excellence in Science Books,” That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion (2012; W.W. Norton & Co), which was an “Editor’s Choice” in the New York Times Book Review for two weeks, and analyzes the emotion of disgust from culture to neuroscience, and her latest book Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship with Food (2017; W.W. Norton & Co), which was a finalist for the “2018 Readable Feast Awards”, and explores how our senses and psychology govern our perception of food and the experiences and consequences of eating. She is currently writing a book for children on food and the senses.
To be present and engaged in the moment.
To walk outside.
To try to be patient and kind.
Make, write, be. Do whatever you can to self-actualize your creativity.
What do you love most about Your City?
I love the mix of nature and trendy civilization in nearby restaurants and coffee shops that are in my area of Rhode Island. I’m also very lucky to have a lot of friendly and kind neighbors.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
I typically don’t eat breakfast. But if I do, my favorite breakfast is eggs benedict. The traditional version is a gold standard, but I also love spinach or smoked salmon or crab/lobster spins. I’ve never perfected making eggs benedict so it’s usually while travelling that I try to find a favorite local haunt, or order it from room service!
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Hopefully still asleep for another 45 minutes. If I’m intentionally awake, I’m typically preparing a talk I have to give that day, or if I’m lucky, writing out an idea that has suddenly percolated to the surface of my brain and has to be worked on.
10:00 AM – Coming back from the gym, doing some errands, or taking my dog for walk #2. She gets her first walk around 7:00am, and her third (and last walk) around 5:30pm. We have a fenced in backyard that she runs around in, but I love walking with her. It’s great for clearing my mind, problem solving and thinking, and also for bonding with her.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
My desk if my lunch spot. I work while I eat my lunch, which is usually something like cottage cheese and a little dark chocolate. Not too much because I find that if I eat something rich and filling I have a hard time mentally concentrating afterwards. If I am out for lunch, a favorite meal is some kind of salad or sushi. Haruki in Providence has a lunch sushi special that I like a lot and try to get to when I’m meeting friends. Typically, I don’t have time to engage in food until around dinner. And then I really enjoy it!
7:00 PM – Either making or eating dinner and usually enjoying a glass of wine.
11:00 PM – Most likely sleeping. I try to get as close to 8 hrs of sleep/night as I can. If I’m not sleeping, then I’m probably reading a few pages of the novel that’s currently on deck, or occasionally still out socializing.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
Water, water, water…
I don’t know how many glasses, but it’s a lot. I’m either sipping on water or green tea most of the day.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
My Accuweather phone app! I’m always checking the weather because I walk outside so much. My favorite social media account is Twitter.
What should everyone try at least once?
A food that you’re afraid of, or think that you won’t like.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
In foreign cities. I love to wander and explore and take in the magic of new cities, and of course find some interesting local snacks along the way!