Danish Students Attract International Attention with Cress and Wifi Experiment

Posted in Scientific Research, What's Happening Around the World?, Wifi in Schools Written by www.dr.dk (translated)

Foreign researchers are extremely excited for a biology project from five 9th grade girls.

Researchers from England, Holland and Sweden have shown great interest in the five girls' biology experiments.

Take 400 Cress seeds and place them into 12 trays. Then place six trays in two rooms at the same temperature. Give them the same amount of water and sun over 12 days, and remember to expose half of them to mobile [Wi-Fi] radiation.

It is a recipe for a biology test so brilliant that it has attracted international attention among acknowledged biologists and radiation experts. Behind the experiment are five girls from 9b in Hjallerup School in North Jutland, and it all started because they found it difficult to concentrate during the school day:

- We all think we have experienced difficulty concentrating in school, if we had slept with the phone next to our head, and sometimes also experienced having difficulty sleeping, explains Lea Nielsen, who is one of the five aspiring researchers.

The school was not equipped to test the effect of mobile phone radiation on them. Therefore, the girls had to find an alternative. And the answer was Cress.

Six trays of seeds were put into a room without radiation, and six trays were put into another room next to two [Wi-Fi] routers. Such routers broadcast the same type of radiation as an ordinary mobile.

Healthy Cress


The "healthy" cress without the influence of the router. Photo: The girls from 9b

Then it was just necessary to wait 12 days, observe, measure, weigh and take pictures along the way. And the result spoke was clear: cress seeds next to the router did not grow, and some of them were even mutated or dead.

- It is truly frightening that there is so much affect, so we were very shocked by the result, says Lea Nielsen.

Unhealthy Cress


The "sick" cress exposed to the [Wi-Fi] router. Photo: The girls from 9b


The experiment secured the girls the finals in the competition "Young Scientists", but it was only the beginning. Renowned scientists from England, Holland and Sweden have since shown great interest in the girls' project so far.

Cress Class


From left: Lea Nielsen, Mathilde Nielsen, Signe Nielsen, Sisse Coltau and Rikke Holm. Photo: Kim Horsevad

The renowned professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Olle Johansson, is one of the impressed researchers. He will now repeat the experiment with a Belgian research colleague, Professor Marie-Claire Cammaert at the Université libre de Bruxelles, for the trial, according to him, is absolutely brilliant:

- The girls stayed within the scope of their knowledge, skilfully implemented and developed a very elegant experiment. The wealth of detail and accuracy is exemplary, choosing cress was very intelligent, and I could go on, he says.

He is not slow to send them an invitation to go on the road:

- I sincerely hope that they spend their future professional life in researching, because I definitely think they have a natural aptitude for it. Personally, I would love to see these people in my team!

No mobile by the bed

The five girls from northern Jutland have not yet decided their future careers. They are still very surprised by all the sudden attention.

- It has been such a rollercoaster ride. I still cannot believe it, says Lea Nielsen.

And Mathilde Nielsen added:

- It's totally overwhelming and exciting. It's just not something you experience every day.

But there have also been other consequences of the cress trial, which is quite low-tech in nature.

- None of us sleep with the mobile next to the bed anymore. Either the phone is put far away, or it is put in another room. And the computer is always off, says Lea Nielsen.

http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Indland/2013/05/16/131324.htm (in Danish)

Comments (13)

  • Richard Lachmann

    Richard Lachmann

    23 January 2014 at 13:06 |
    I think the biggest problem was with the experiment above that the cress samples were actually grown in different rooms (it sais so in the text above). All sort of things could have influenced the outcome. Interesting to follow up however.

    One of the main questions I have about the methodology is whether all seeds came from the same sample (same bag) or two different ones (open one pack for the router cress and another bag for the offline cress). One sample could have been damaged by bad storage. There should have been a sample group (seeds of both growing in the same environment). So many ways to go wrong.
    • Richard Lachmann

      Richard Lachmann

      23 January 2014 at 13:09 |
      Also what makes me suspicious is that in the wifi cress picture only cress that was on the white growth material actually refused to grow whereas there are cress seeds which fell off which started to grow.
  • Red Fred Holland

    Red Fred Holland

    21 January 2014 at 22:45 |
    Grandson did his 6th Grade Science Fair project this year on this topic:

    Today they announced that my science fair project had won the grand prize in the school fair. That’s two years in a row for me winning the school’s grand prize. (I placed 1st in 4th grade, but didn’t win the grand prize that year.) I started working on this project back in November after I got in trouble (just a little) for falling asleep listening to my iPod.

    My grandmother said that sleeping with electronics nearby was dangerous. She saw an article that said some students in Denmark had done a science fair project where they tested to see if plant growth was affected by Wi-Fi. In their experiment, seeds planted near a commercial Wi-Fi router didn’t grow at all. Scientists who saw their project said that their experiment meant that Wi-Fi could be dangerous to people, too, but they are still testing that.

    2014 6th grade science fair project
    This is one of the charts comparing plant growth during my experiment. My experiment lasted 10 days, and I measured and photographed the plants every other day after they were planted. This shows the difference between the plants that were shielded from Wi-Fi, and the average height of those that were not shielded.

    I decided to test it for myself.
  • Rudolf Graspointner

    Rudolf Graspointner

    08 September 2013 at 10:23 |
    Yea, that is why radiation kills cancer cells, duh!
  • Karsten Mottlau

    Karsten Mottlau

    03 June 2013 at 08:54 |
    You may find answers to your questions in the report (in Danish so run it through a translate service): http://www.dr.dk/NR/rdonlyres/075641A4-F4D4-4ECF-834F-C0DAF2B8E1E1/5134851/Undersoegelse_af_nontermiske_effekter_af_mobilstra.pdf
  • Peter Frank

    Peter Frank

    01 June 2013 at 19:01 |
    Double blind studies have NO bearing on these results. Double blind is for when there are participants who have awareness, eg humans, mice etc.

    I agree there should be other trials done to take out other variables though. I work in the health industry and see people regularly who are effected by WIFI etc. I've seen healthy people get sick within days of having a Smart meter installed and they didn't even know it had been installed. It was only after we had tried other things to get them well and as a last resort asked about smart meters that they found out it had been installed days before their health started to deteriate.

    The world is having the biggest experiment in history with no-one really sure of the outcome. One thing for sure... non-ionisg radiation is not safe.
    • Christian Haarala Björnberg

      Christian Haarala Björnberg

      03 June 2013 at 08:18 |
      "non-ionising radiation is not safe". Based on what sources?
  • Deane Aguilar

    Deane Aguilar

    31 May 2013 at 19:23 |
    I am also curious how far the seeds were from the routers and where the tempurature was monitored (just within the room or right where the seeds were located). I've been germinating vegetable seeds on top of my wifi router for years as well as on my cable box, modem, and on a home made rope light heat pad (I tried on external hard drives but they get too hot). I have had fabulous germination rates and lots of lovely little seedlings. The peat pots on the wifi router tend to reach 86-89f (30-32c) which is very similar to my heat pad (these temps are great for tomatoes, peppers, melons and other heat loving crops). Cress seeds germinate slow, poorly or not at all if temps exceed 30c, they do best between 68-77f (20-25c), I germinate them on my countertop with the lettuces and spinach. I am wondering if the temperature was checked simply within the room but was much warmer near the routers and overheated the seeds.
  • Mark Hartman

    Mark Hartman

    24 May 2013 at 17:41 |
    Frankly, if this experiment was not performed in double-blind conditions (that is, the girls themselves were not aware which seeds were being exposed to the RF energy, and which were not), then the results really have no value. However, this more comes under the heading of encouragement to continue inquiring into such things; the undistorted truth is the goal.
    • Roger


      25 May 2013 at 12:35 |
      The important thing is that the cress was consciously unaware of where it was placed. I don't think the fact that the girls knew which plates were exposed had any affect on the results whatsoever. Well done girls on a great demonstration of the biological effects of WiFi exposure.
      • omicronpie


        26 May 2013 at 11:11 |
        Mark is absolutely right. If the girls didn't do a double-blind experiment, then it opens the study up to potential observer bias. Additionally, both should have been shielded from other types of radiation. This is being very picky though. It's great to see young minds who are thinking for themselves and questioning
  • BrianCrouch


    24 May 2013 at 14:56 |
    How close were the cress seeds to the router? Could heat and dehydration been a factor in growth? Were there multiple cress tests in relation to distance from the router?

    I'm only curious about the experiment methodology. Kudos to the students for thinking of a very good experiment!
  • Tom Drahaschnig

    Tom Drahaschnig

    23 May 2013 at 00:47 |
    Just you wait till you find the rest of the story about your cell phones and other safe devises..all for the good of MAN kind or should I say bank accounts

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