Exploring effects of Wi-Fi leads to science fair prize
|March 31, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal|
A request for Santa Claus to deliver an iPad for Christmas by a little sister sparked curiosity about the potential effects of radiation from Wi-Fi and led Virginia Hsiao to create an award-winning science fair project.
“I’ve participated in science fairs for a large part of my life,” she said. “It’s amazing to have people tell me my project was really cool.”
Her project “Wifi? Evaluating the Effects of Human Radiofrequency Waves on Raphanus sativus Seeds” was initially conceived when she noticed the prevalence of technology in modern society when her sister asked about getting the iPad.
“I found the whole community was really uncertain about the effects [of Wi-Fi],” she said.
For the experiment, 30 similarly sized germinated seeds were acquired and separated into three groups (control, 2.4 Ghz, and 5.8 Ghz). 2.4 Gigahertz and 5.8 Gigahertz directional wireless antennas were directed at respective seed samples. Root growth and shoot growth were recorded daily. At the conclusion of the project, three samples from each group were selected for chlorophyll quantification and submerged in 5 milliliters of ethanol. Eight hours later, samples were analyzed.
“I found there is potential to cause biochemical changes on the molecular level,” she said. “It indicates the effects on humans might be more devastating since plants are more resilient.”
Last year, Hsiao won in the same category, but didn’t expect a win this year.
“It seemed more elementary in comparison [to the other projects],” she said. “I overcame a lot of obstacles throughout.”
Hsiao is very enthusiastic about learning and also works at her school’s newspaper The Aragon Outlook.
“Science is awesome,” said Hsiao, who is interested in pediatrics. “I’m open to a lot of different aspects of science.”
Her projects were entered into both the San Francisco Bay Area and California State Fairs. She is going to state fair in April in Los Angeles.
At the fair there were more than 340 projects designed and created by current San Mateo County students.
Other winners at the fair included Adam Noworolski of Burlingame Intermediate School; Matthew Bates of Notre Dame Elementary School; Swetha Tummala of Nueva High School; Nathan Bowman of North Star Academy; Ilan Ladabaum, J.P. McKenney, Javier Nino-Sears and Simon Montrose of Central Middle School; Laura McGann of Saint Charles School; James Carlson, Andrew Land, Carolyn Wang and Cole Lorch of Tierra Linda Middle School; Matthew Cheng, Nicholas Finke and Marcus Leubke of Bayside STEM Academy; Jack Price of Park Elementary School; Ed Austin of Sequoia High School; and Greening Gemma, Benjamin Glazer and Robert Weigle of Woodside Elementary School.
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