Nelani Skantharajah and Tierra Williams received a gold medal at the Metro Science Fair on April 6th, for their project on cell phone radiation. The two girls from Danforth Collegiate in Toronto wanted to study the levels of radiation emitted by cell phones. Imogen Coe, dean of the Faculty of Science, put Skantharajah in touch with the Department of Computer Science. Their project was a big hit: with nine other groups from Danforth Collegiate, they will present their results at the city-wide fair on April 6th.
FINAL THOUGHTSI personally do not care about the signal strength issue or the discomfort holding the phone to the ear because this case looks so cool.


They had read conflicting reports about the dangers of cell phone use, and knew that some held concerns about the impact on children. All the testing was to happen at school with their friends’ (and their own) cell phones—representing four different models, from Galaxy Nexus to Blackberry Curve 9320—but it was hard to find any space free of radiation interference.
The incidence of brain tumours in people under 20 has risen in Canada recently, in a timeframe roughly corresponding to the rise of mobile technology.
So the chair, Alireza Sadeghian, promptly bought one—a Tenmars TM-196 3-Axis RF Field Strength Meter—and loaned it to the students, with a plan to use it later for undergraduate teaching. Its lead teacher, Roberta Tevlin, is finding effective ways to correct the balance.The challenge—of opening science to more girls—may have prompted Dean Coe to consider Skantharajah’s email request.


Typically, such a meter (at a cost of $350) is used by researchers to measure the signal strength of mobile and wireless devices. Like thousands of students in the GTA they had entered their project with the hope of being chosen to advance to the big Toronto Science Fair in April.



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