Bill S. Hansson

Bill S. Hansson is a Swedish neuroethologist, an academic and the author of Smelling to Survive: The Amazing World of Smell (2022).

Bill S. Hansson was born in Jonstorp, Sweden. He studied at the University of Lund. After his PhD in ecology, he moved to the U.S. for postdoctoral work. Hansson became a Professor of Chemical Ecology, first in Lund and then at SLU in Alnarp.

In 2006, he joined the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, as Director and Scientific Member. His work is in evolutionary neuroethology, focusing on insect olfaction.

Hansson is an Honorary Professor at Friedrich Schiller University. He's a member of several science academies, including the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He has received numerous awards for his research. Hansson is notably the first non-German Vice President of the Max Planck Society. He oversees 27 institutes in the Biology and Medicine Section.

His work is critical to the internationalization of the Max Planck Society. Hansson is involved with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi.

In 2016, Bill S. Hansson received the International Ellis Island Medal of Honor on Ellis Island in New York.

"Smelling to Survive: The Amazing World of Our Sense of Smell" (2022) is his notable book. It explores the critical role of smell in life. The book discusses how smell has been used for millions of years. It serves to warn, attract, identify, navigate, and even mislead. Hansson explains how our ancestors experienced a different world of scents. He explores how future technologies will change our perception of smell.

The book includes stories from olfactory research. Among the topics covered are alarm odours in plants and mosquitoes attracted to sweaty feet. Hansson discusses the smell surrounding teenage males and how climate change affects scents. He describes research trips to Christmas Island and studies on penguins recognizing partners by scent.

Bill S. Hansson is currently the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany.
years of life: 1959 present

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