If your router can kill your plants, what is it doing to you?
A Danish high school science fair project has suggested that the radiation emitted by a wireless router is powerful enough to kill a plant. Five students from Hjallerup School in North Jutland, Denmark used plant seeds to test the effects of radiation on organic matter. Shockingly, they found that plants located adjacent to routers dried up and died, while seeds placed away from them did not.
For the experiment, the students placed trays of garden cress seeds in two rooms, one with wireless routers and one without. Both groups were regularly watered, had access to sunlight and kept in rooms with stable temperatures. After 12 days, the seeds in the control group had started to grow. Meanwhile, the ones placed near routers had turned brown.
And that’s not the scary part. The five girls developed the experiment as a more doable means of testing the effects of microwaves from cell phones on people. They were inspired after discovering they had trouble sleeping when their phones next to their beds. Obviously the connection is still a loose one, but it’s there. They specifically used routers that emitted a comparable type of radiation.
Given that the experiment was performed by high school students, the experiment has already come under fire from skeptics. While Kim Horsevad, the group’s teacher, openly admits that the experiment wasn’t performed under professional conditions, she refutes suggestions that the results were caused by poor planning or execution.
“The pupils were painstakingly careful in keeping the conditions for both groups similar,” Horsevad told The Daily Dot. “The cress seeds in both groups were kept sufficiently moist during the whole experiment, and the temperature were controlled thermostatically. The computers were placed so that the heat would not affect the seeds, which was verified by temperature measurements. Still, there may be confounders which neither the pupils or I have been aware of, but I cannot imagine what they would be.”
Regardless, the experiment has raised a lot of eyebrow in the scientific community. Olle Johanssen, a neuroscience professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, says he’d like attempt to replicate the experiment in a laboratory setting. That doesn’t mean Johanson is skeptical of the results, though, and commended the students on putting together an “elegant” and well thought-out experiment.
For now, the students have received an award for their work at the Danish national science fair.