Fabien Ndagijimana interview: “We want to calm the debate on electromagnetic waves”

Categorie(s) : Innovation & Society, Interviews, MINATEC, News

Published : 10 June 2013

Fabien Ndagijimana, IMEP-LAHC, Pheline lab*:
“We want to calm the debate on electromagnetic waves”

In the book you wrote with Pheline colleague François Gaudaire [called Au Cœur des Ondes]—were you out to attack electromagnetic waves or defend them?

Neither. What we wanted to do is calm the debate on electromagnetic waves, which is being fuelled by the media and by outlandish stories circulating on the internet, like people being able to cook eggs or make popcorn near a wireless device. None of this has been corroborated with laboratory experiments.
The aim of our book is to describe, explain, and demystify the technical aspects so that each reader can form his or her own opinion. As researchers we can’t just sit on the sidelines of the debate.

Do you feel it is a researcher’s role to write this type of book?
I couldn’t find anything on this issue written for non-specialists who simply want to learn more. And informing the public is part of Pheline’s mission; for example, this year we are visiting several Rhône-Alpes area high schools to give presentations and meet with students. I tell students that there is no scientific evidence to date proving that cell phones are harmful. But I also tell them not to sleep with their cell phone under their pillow, since we don’t have a firm idea of the risks.

What kind of research does Pheline do?

We look at issues related to buildings, like lighting, home appliances and electronics, and wallpaper and other materials that can block electromagnetic waves. We also study human exposure; we plan to take measurements in five media libraries in Lyon to see if they correspond with complaints made by library employees and visitors. We also do metrology and dosimetry.

*Pheline lab is a UJF-CSTB joint lab for electromagnetic research.

Contact: fabien@minatec.inpg.fr


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