math muddle

math-muddleVolume, mass, density, formulas, calculations! God, it’s enough to make me reconsider — almost.  The mathematical wisdom of the placement of these spore cases on the back of every fern leaf lets me know that if nature can accomplish such wonders, so can I.

During the creation phase a formula can go from drops to millilitres to litres for the final production formula.  And, did you know every essential oil has its own specific density which is important to know for the calculation of the final blend which may or may not be stated on the MSDS that accompanies your purchase?  And even if there is an MSDS the density may or may not be listed.  Of course this only applies to the small quantities the typical perfumer in training deals with.

Math never having been a strong subject for me, this is of course on of the monsters I am wrestling with — consistency or the lack there of.  Math is hard enough on its own without me having to wrestle with the lack of any real hard and fast rules that is a fundamental part of the art of perfumery. For people like me it becomes a recipe for confusion.

Thankfully our school provides an automated perfume formulation excel spreadsheet that does most of the calculations for you, but not before having you go through all the calculations by hand!  This is all very necessary of course because one needs to know how and why to make a calculation based on concentration and final volume — what’s really going on in the back end, what it affects and what is affected by it. And so this is the drudgery part of the course for me, but also the one that I am most determined to fully grasp.

I remain undaunted, however, even though for the moment, it’s still as clear as mud.