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CHRISTOPHER KEMP – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Christopher Kemp is a molecular biologist who currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife and two sons.

While working as a scientist in New Zealand, Kemp became obsessed with ambergris, a by-product of sperm whales that has been used for centuries as a perfume, medicine and aphrodisiac.

He spent several years researching the history of ambergris, infiltrating the strange world of the hunters and traders who buy and sell it, and traveling from New Zealand to New England, and back again, in search of a piece of his own.

Kemp documented his journey in Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Additionally, he has worked as a columnist for Cincinnati CityBeat, has blogged for Huffington Post, and his science writing has appeared on Salon.

‘Floating Gold’ on Amazon