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Concept: Electromagnetic field


Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) use information from surrounding electric fields to make foraging decisions. Electroreception in air, a nonconductive medium, is a recently discovered sensory capacity of insects, yet the sensory mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we investigate two putative electric field sensors: antennae and mechanosensory hairs. Examining their mechanical and neural response, we show that electric fields cause deflections in both antennae and hairs. Hairs respond with a greater median velocity, displacement, and angular displacement than antennae. Extracellular recordings from the antennae do not show any electrophysiological correlates to these mechanical deflections. In contrast, hair deflections in response to an electric field elicited neural activity. Mechanical deflections of both hairs and antennae increase with the electric charge carried by the bumblebee. From this evidence, we conclude that sensory hairs are a site of electroreception in the bumblebee.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Electromagnetic field, Honey bee, Bee, Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, Bumblebees



Magnetic monopoles–particles that behave as isolated north or south magnetic poles–have been the subject of speculation since the first detailed observations of magnetism several hundred years ago. Numerous theoretical investigations and hitherto unsuccessful experimental searches have followed Dirac’s 1931 development of a theory of monopoles consistent with both quantum mechanics and the gauge invariance of the electromagnetic field. The existence of even a single Dirac magnetic monopole would have far-reaching physical consequences, most famously explaining the quantization of electric charge. Although analogues of magnetic monopoles have been found in exotic spin ices and other systems, there has been no direct experimental observation of Dirac monopoles within a medium described by a quantum field, such as superfluid helium-3 (refs 10-13). Here we demonstrate the controlled creation of Dirac monopoles in the synthetic magnetic field produced by a spinor Bose-Einstein condensate. Monopoles are identified, in both experiments and matching numerical simulations, at the termini of vortex lines within the condensate. By directly imaging such a vortex line, the presence of a monopole may be discerned from the experimental data alone. These real-space images provide conclusive and long-awaited experimental evidence of the existence of Dirac monopoles. Our result provides an unprecedented opportunity to observe and manipulate these quantum mechanical entities in a controlled environment.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Electromagnetic field, Magnetic field, Photon, Quantum mechanics, Quantum field theory, Quantum electrodynamics, Field


The carcinogenic effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in humans remains controversial. However, it has been suggested that they could be involved in the aetiology of some types of brain tumours.

Concepts: Electromagnetic field, Brain tumor, Mobile phone, Radio, Rotary dial, Push-button telephone


Elasmobranchs can detect minute electromagnetic fields, <1 nVcm(-1), using their ampullae of Lorenzini. Behavioural responses to electric fields have been investigated in various species, sometimes with the aim to develop shark deterrents to improve human safety. The present study tested the effects of the Shark Shield Freedom7™ electric deterrent on (1) the behaviour of 18 white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) near a static bait, and (2) the rates of attacks on a towed seal decoy. In the first experiment, 116 trials using a static bait were performed at the Neptune Islands, South Australia. The proportion of baits taken during static bait trials was not affected by the electric field. The electric field, however, increased the time it took them to consume the bait, the number of interactions per approach, and decreased the proportion of interactions within two metres of the field source. The effect of the electric field was not uniform across all sharks. In the second experiment, 189 tows using a seal decoy were conducted near Seal Island, South Africa. No breaches and only two surface interactions were observed during the tows when the electric field was activated, compared with 16 breaches and 27 surface interactions without the electric field. The present study suggests that the behavioural response of white sharks and the level of risk reduction resulting from the electric field is contextually specific, and depends on the motivational state of sharks.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Electromagnetic field, Great white shark, Shark, Lamniformes, Megalodon, Sharks


Honeybees, like other insects, accumulate electric charge in flight, and when their body parts are moved or rubbed together. We report that bees emit constant and modulated electric fields when flying, landing, walking and during the waggle dance. The electric fields emitted by dancing bees consist of low- and high-frequency components. Both components induce passive antennal movements in stationary bees according to Coulomb’s law. Bees learn both the constant and the modulated electric field components in the context of appetitive proboscis extension response conditioning. Using this paradigm, we identify mechanoreceptors in both joints of the antennae as sensors. Other mechanoreceptors on the bee body are potentially involved but are less sensitive. Using laser vibrometry, we show that the electrically charged flagellum is moved by constant and modulated electric fields and more strongly so if sound and electric fields interact. Recordings from axons of the Johnston organ document its sensitivity to electric field stimuli. Our analyses identify electric fields emanating from the surface charge of bees as stimuli for mechanoreceptors, and as biologically relevant stimuli, which may play a role in social communication.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Electromagnetic field, Fundamental physics concepts, Electrostatics, Electric field, Coulomb's law


Mobile phones are becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives. The rising number of mobile phones reflects a similar increase in the number of base stations. Because of this rapid evolution, the establishment and planning of new base stations has become mandatory. However, the rise in the number of base stations, in terms of human health, is potentially very harmful. It is important to analyze the radiation levels of base stations until we can confirm that they are definitely not harmful in the long term. Mapping of electromagnetic field (EMF) is also important from a medical point of view because it provides useful information, for example, on the detection of diseases caused by EMF. With the help of this information the distribution of diseases over different regions can be obtained. In this article, the electromagnetic radiation levels of base stations were measured at 80 different points in Erciyes University (ERU), Turkey and detailed information about the measurement tools and measurement method were given. It was observed that no area in ERU exceeded the national and international limits. It is also observed that the effects of base stations vary according to duration and degree of exposure. Therefore, if people are exposed to a very low-intensity electromagnetic field for a very long time, serious health problems can occur.

Concepts: Medicine, Electromagnetic field, Mobile phone, Radio, Cellular network, Base station, Mobile phone radiation and health, Electromagnetic radiation and health


Strong electric fields open new routes for the control of radiation-less decay in molecules with conical intersections. Here, we present quantum chemical and quantum dynamical simulations which demonstrate that the radiation-less decay and related photoisomerization of pyridinylidene-phenoxide can be effectively manipulated with strong electric fields by shifting the conical intersection. Moreover, we show the effects of the electric field on the orientation of the molecules and on the photoexcitation and discuss the conditions for which the field induced coupling between rotational and vibronic states can be neglected.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Electromagnetic field, Quantum mechanics, Chemistry, Quantum chemistry, Conical intersection


Radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure from wireless telecommunication base station antennae can lead to debates, conflicts or litigations among the adjacent residents if inappropriately managed. This paper presents a measurement campaign for the GSM band EMF exposure in the vicinity of 827 base station sites (totally 6207 measurement points) in Guangxi, China. Measurement specifications are designed for risk communication with the residents who previously complained of over-exposure. The EMF power densities with the global positioning system coordinate at each measured point were recorded. Compliance with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines and Chinese environmental EMF safety standards was studied. The results show that the GSM band EMF level near the base stations is very low. The measurement results and the EMF risk communication procedures positively influence public perception of the RF EMF exposure from the base stations and promote the exchange of EMF exposure-related knowledge.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Electromagnetism, Electromagnetic field, Quantum mechanics, Field, Radio, Surveying, Mobile phone radiation and health


As a result of dense installations of public mobile base station, additional electromagnetic radiation occurs in the living environment. In order to determine the level of radio-frequency radiation generated by base stations, extensive electromagnetic field strength measurements were carried out for 664 base station locations. Base station locations were classified into three categories: indoor, masts and locations with installations on buildings. Having in mind the large percentage (47 %) of sites with antenna masts, a detailed analysis of this location category was performed, and the measurement results were presented. It was concluded that the total electric field strength in the vicinity of base station antenna masts in no case exceeded 10 V m(-1), which is quite below the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection reference levels. At horizontal distances >50 m from the mast bottom, the median and maximum values were <1 and 2 V m(-1), respectively.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Electromagnetic field, Magnetic field, Photon, Maxwell's equations, Electromagnetic spectrum, Radio, Mobile phone radiation and health