The Sciences The Scent of Your Thoughts Although we are usually unaware of it, we communicate through chemical signals just as much as birds and bees do By Deborah Blum THIS IS A PREVIEW. Buy this digital issue or subscribe to access the full article. Already a subscriber or purchased this issue? Sign In Illustration by Noma Bar The moment that started martha mcclintock’s scientific career was a whim of youth. Even, she recalls, a ridiculous moment. It is summer, 1968, and she is a Wellesley College student attending a workshop at the Jackson Laboratory in Maine. A lunch-table gathering of established researchers is talking about how mice appear to synchronize their ovary cycles. And 20-year-old McClintock, sitting nearby, pipes up with something like, “Well, don’t you know? Women do that, too.” “I don’t remember the exact words,” she says now, sitting relaxed and half-amused in her well-equipped laboratory at the University of Chicago. “But everyone turned and stared.” It is easy to imagine her in that distant encounter—the same direct gaze, the same friendly face and flyaway hair. Still, the lunch-table group is not charmed; it informs her that she does not know what she is talking about. THIS IS A PREVIEW. Buy this digital issue or subscribe to access the full article. Already a subscriber or purchased this issue? Sign In Buy Digital Issue $7.99 Add To Cart Print + DigitalAll Access $99.99 Subscribe ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2015 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.