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Published on: Oct 13, 2010

The latest issue of the Bioelectromagnetics newsletter is one that you won't want to miss: it has some very interesting background details on each of the student presentations (poster and platform) that received awards at the recent meeting in Seoul, Korea. These are followed by two especially intriguing notes from members. You may even find that you want to comment on what you read, and if you do, please send those comments to

Hey, wait, is that a new email address? Yes it is - and that's just the beginning of the significant changes you are about to see in the BEMS electronic world. Read about more of them in issue 215 of the BEMS newsletter, now available. 
See also:

In the December issue of the COST281 newsletter, it was announced that the European Commission’s (EC) EUREKA project known as BASEXPO was recently approved by the EC. BASEXPO is coordinated by the Austrian Research Center at Seibersdorf and includes partners Ghent University in Belgium, Aristotle University in Greece, France Telecom R&D, Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden, AF Industry & Systems in Sweden, the Swiss Federal Research Institute (IT’IS) in Zurich, and Maxwave of Switzerland. The EU initiative calls for development of scientifically sound and technically feasible procedures to assess RF exposure near mobile communication base stations.

Also in the COST281 newsletter readers will find a preview of some new public EMF safety regulations to be introduced in Poland by the Ministry of Environmental Safety, and details of plans by the Swiss Research Foundation on Mobile Communication to support four new projects beginning in 2004. These include a study of the impact of precautionary measures and scientific uncertainties on lay persons’ EMF risk appraisal by Peter Wiedemann of the Juelich Research Center and others in Germany, plus a two-year effort by Peter Schär of the University of Basel and Niels Kuster of IT’IS, on Schär’s attempt to replicate genotoxic effects reported by Tauber et al. in Berlin and Rüdiger et al. in Munich, for the EU’s REFLEX program.

The information-packed COST281 10-page newsletter may be downloaded at Also watch for the organization’s year-end “Watchdog Report” soon at the same address.

June 16, 2004. IEEE ICES Short Course, “Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, 0 - 3 kHz, in C95.6.” The Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Nathan Hale Room, 2600 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, D.C. Cost is US$395. Contact: Arthur G. Varanelli, Raytheon Company, 47 Foundry Ave., Waltham, MA 02453 USA. Tel: +1 (781) 642 2410 or Fax: +1 (781) 642 2422.

June 17, 2004. 8 a.m.–12 noon. IEEE SCC34: Product Standards Relative to the Safe Use of Electromagnetic Energy. The Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2600 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, D.C. Registration is required. Contact:

    1–5 p.m. ICES SC1: Measurements, Instrumentation and Computation.
    7–10 p.m. ICES SC5: Safety Levels with Respect to Electro-Explosive Devices.

June 18, 2004. 8 a.m.–12 noon. ICES SC2: Terminology, Units of Measurement, and Hazard Communication.

    1–5 p.m. ICES SC3: Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields 0–3 kHz.

June 19, 2004. 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ICES SC4: Safety Levels with Respect to Human Exposure, 3 kHz–300 GHz.

    7–10 p.m. Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR)

June 20, 2004. 8 a.m.–12 noon ICES Main Committee.

June 20, 2004. 1–5 p.m. U.S. AFRL Workshop, “Measuring and Modeling Thermal Responses to Directed Energy Exposure.” Contact: Patrick A. Mason, USAF/AFRL/HEDR, Brooks City-Base, TX 78235-5147. Tel: +1 (210) 536-2362, DSN +1 (210) 240-2362. FAX: (210) 536-3977, DSN FAX: +1 (210) 240-3977. E-mail:

June 21–24, 2004. The Bioelectromagnetics Society 26th Annual Meeting. The Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW, Washington, D.C. Tel: +1 (202) 234-0700. Lodging $150 single; $170 double occupancy. Contact: Bruce McLeod, Technical Chair, e-mail: Tel: +1 (406) 994-4145, or Gloria Parsley, Executive Director, BEMS, e-mail: Tel: +1 (301) 663-4252. Further details at

June 30, 2004. NEW Abstract deadline for Sept. 20–23, 2004, meeting, Mobile Communication and Health: Medical, Biological and Social Problems. Moscow, RUSSIA.

July 25–30, 2004. Gordon Conference on Bioelectrochemistry. Connecticut College, New London, Conn. USA. Contact: Richard Nuccitelli, Center for Bioelectrics, 830 Southampton Ave., Suite 5100, Norfolk, VA 23510 USA. Tel: +1 (757) 683-2405. Cell: +1 (860) 805-2906. E-mail:

Sept. 20–23, 2004. Mobile Communication and Health: Medical, Biological and Social Problems. Moscow, RUSSIA. See or contact Eugenia Bichelday at 46 Zhivopisnaya St., Moscow 123182, RUSSIA. Phone/FAX: +7 095 193 0187. E-mail:

September 20–21, 2004. COST281 Workshop on EMF Exposure Assessment. Watch for details.

September 22–24, 2004. Joint IEEE International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES) and COST 281 Workshop on Thermophysiology. Details to be announced.

October 4–8, 2004. 3rd International Workshop on Biological Effects of EMF. Kipriotis Village Hotel, Kos, GREECE. Sponsored by The Bioelectromagnetics Society and Telecommunications System Institute of Greece. See http:// or or contact Prof. P. Kostarakis, Electronics-Telecom Lab, Physics Department, University of Ioannina, GR-45110 GREECE. Tel: +30 (2651) 098491. E-mail:

October 25–27, 2004. WHO EMF Project’s Seminar and Working Group Meeting on EMF Hypersensitivity. Hotel ILF in Prague, Czech Republic. The first two days of this seminar are open and intended to review current state of knowledge and opinions and propose ways to move forward on this issue. A closed meeting by invitation only follows on Oct. 27. For information and registration materials see: peh-emf/meetings/hypersensitivity_prague2004/en/ OR

January 12–14, 2005. The Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine 23rd Scientific Conference. Embassy Suites Resort, Lake Tahoe, CA. Contact: Christopher Jacobs, Program Chair, E-mail: Tel: (650) 736-0802 or Gloria Parsley, Executive Director, E-mail: Tel: 301-663-4556.

February 14–18, 2005. The 16th International Zurich Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), the Technical Exhibition on EMC and RF/Microwave Measurements & Instrumentation. Zürich, Switzerland. Contact: Gregor Dürrenberger, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich. Tel. +41 1632 2815; Mobile: +41 78 721 7488, Fax: +41 1632 1198. E-mail: See:

February 17–18, 2005. COST281 Workshop. Zürich, Switzerland. Watch for details.

March 1–5, 2005. UNESCO Seminar and Practical Workshop on Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Biological Effects of EMF. Yerevan, ARMENIA. Sponsored by WHO and European Office of Aerospace Research and Development (EOARD). Contact: Organizing Committee: Tel: (3741) 62 4170, Fax: (3741) 61 2461. E-mail: See: =story&id=82#news82

Bill Wisecup, the former Executive Director of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, passed away on May 28, 2007, following a sudden and unexpected cerebral hemorrhage. A memorial service was held on June 9th with interment at Arlington Cemetery. Bill and his wife, Beth, had just returned from a photographic workshop trip to Scotland and were preparing to leave on another photo shoot over Memorial Day weekend. May 29 would have been their 54th wedding anniversary. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son and daughter and a number of grandchildren. Because of Bill’s special relationship with the Bioelectromagnetics society, we are publishing a tribute to him that was read at the recent annual meeting in lieu of the traditional obituary.

Tribute to Bill Wisecup by Gloria Parsley:

I was hired by Bill on the same day that he began managing BEMS - April Fools Day in 1986, a fact that may have been a precursor for what lay ahead in our relationship. Bill’s sense of humor was so dry that more often than not, I didn’t understand his jokes or jovial comments. And to make matters worse, Bill loved dogs - while I loved cats. This meant that when he would bark at me - I would hiss right back! We soon found out that we were two very driven, hard headed, perfectionists that seemed to be cut from the same cloth.


However, Bill and I quickly joined forces that April Fool’s Day as we faced a major challenge: we had a meeting to plan in Madison, Wisconsin, and we only 2 months to do it in. As each day moved forward, valuable lessons were being learned by both of us. New ideas and concepts were being formulated, tested, improved and put into practice. Three very chaotic months later we sat back, reevaluated and discovered that we made a great team. Our first BEMS meeting was a success and we were eager to get started planning the next event.

Bill filled my world with brilliant possibilities. He broadened my horizons and he constantly showed me how to dream, to think outside the box and to establish plans that would eventually lead me down a path towards accomplishing my goals. If I found that I was taking myself too seriously, Bill would often ask “who cares?” or “so what?” and bring me back down to earth. During stressful periods he would say things like “the world won’t fall off its axis if we don’t get to that today” or “we’re not medical physicians – they’re the only ones responsible for saving lives today” and would bring things back into perspective for me.

Bill was a lifelong learner, constantly asking questions, seeking guidance, and removing barriers to things that may have seemed impossible to overcome. He re-ignited that search for knowledge in me, encouraging me to go back to school. As I pursued my management degree part time over the next 8 years, Bill enrolled in courses too, studying archeology and photography. His generous corporate tuition reimbursement plan financed my entire college education.

Bill’s desire to travel also motivated me. As we journeyed all over the world, Bill would look at any new or difficult challenges and somehow transform them into valuable opportunities. As BEMS’ ambassador to new lands, Bill saw interacting with people of all backgrounds as a way to share their life experiences and he loved to hear about their passions, to find out what was important to them and what they loved about their lives.

Through trial and error, Bill became a very talented photographer. In this arena, his stubbornness truly was an asset, as he was always determined to master each new camera and lens in order to capture the best shot. Bill was passionate about photographing the remote areas of the world. His photographic web site states that he believes “it is not possible for us to live in isolation of other peoples and cultures.” He hoped that his “photography would be a small step towards bridging that gap.”

Bill worked tirelessly bridging the gap for the worldwide BEMS community, promoting positive and enriching values and over his 14 year tenure, he built a strong Society that has continued to sustain and promote those very qualities. Too often we can get bogged down with difficulties in life and forget to count our blessings. Bill’s jovial optimism would greet me each day with “Good morning Mary Sunshine.” His regular response on the telephone would be to say: “If I were any better I’d be twins.” Can you picture two Bill Wisecups? I can’t. He was a totally unique individual. His approach toward life created a different world for me, with more opportunities for joy and fulfillment than ever before.

Bill was my mentor, but even more than that he was my friend. In memory of his honor and integrity, I challenge each one of you to reach out and seek new opportunities, opening yourself up to new possibilities, learning and living each moment to its fullest. That’s what Bill would have wanted - for everyone.

Gloria Parsley BEMS Executive Director

Authored by: Carl Blackman

Nancy Wertheimer

Reflections on the Passing of Nancy Wertheimer: Nancy Wertheimer’s first paper on the relationship between power lines and childhood leukemia was the proverbial butterfly’s wing that began a far-reaching cascade, in this instance of further research. It stimulated more epidemiological studies, development of methods for field surveys of ELF fields, extrapolation of these data to population exposure estimates, and a wide variety of investigation into interaction mechanisms. Many new papers published today still cite Wertheimer and Leeper (1979) as motivation in their introductions. Ben Greenebaum Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

A couple of years after Nancy shook up the BEMS community with her report on childhood leukemia she embarked on another 60 Hz study examining the possible correlation between electric blankets and miscarriages. I was in Washington when I learned that she was going to present some data on this subject at the venerable New York Academy of Sciences. I was able to get a cheap shuttle flight to New York to attend this evening talk. It was practically standing room only. I remember many of the other attendees, including Sol Michaelson, Art Pilla, and Louis Slesin. As always her talk was clean, crisp and fascinating, unencumbered by the negative mind set that always accompanied such politically charged topics. Afterwards she was subjected to some withering criticism, mainly surrounding the questionable use of epidemiological techniques to elicit information about 60 Hz hazards. Throughout her demeanor was calm, and, even sweet, as she smiled to those in the audience who were the most insulting. This is how I will always remember Nancy, capable of making discoveries that others failed to see, and completely self-assured in her abilities. As a postscript to that memorable evening on New York’s East Side, a few years later the manufacturers of electric blankets made the necessary wiring changes to reduce the 60 Hz magnetic field at the blanket surface. A R Liboff, Research Professor Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL.

I attended the memorial service held for Nancy Wertheimer here in Boulder and was impressed by the extensiveness and devotion of her family -- including all of her children and adult grandchildren. Like most of her BEMS colleagues, I had known her primarily from her scientific work, so it was quite inspirational to learn about the other dimensions of her life. I first met Nancy, and Ed Leeper, when they visited us at the University of Colorado shortly after I joined the faculty. At that time they expressed an interest in the bioeffects of EMF that we were studying mainly in the RF and microwave domains - --but I think we were helpful to them in devising a stratagem for estimating, at least by rank order, the magnitude of ELF fields adjacent to power lines. As everyone now knows, they were able to combine some physics principles, some engineering advise and some good-old intuition in devising their "Wiring Code" approach to dosimetry and used that to imply an association between power line fields and the occurrence of childhood cancers in the Denver-Boulder area. When their work caught the attention of a group in upstate New York who were opposed to the construction of a new transmission line, the New York State Power Authority commissioned a broad study of the issue and came to us at CU to try to replicate and improve on Nancy and Ed"s childhood cancer study. All told, my scientific interactions with Nancy lasted for over twenty years and, throughout that time, I always respected her creative thinking abilities and her willingness to discuss points of difference as well as agreement between us. Nancy and I did not always agree on the interpretation of the various studies that we were both involved in, but I always enjoyed having the opportunity to work with her, She was a truly unique individual and will be sorely missed Howard Wachtel Boulder, CO Nancy Wertheimer has a singular place in bioelectromagnetics as a pioneer whose curiosity about possible neighborhood factors in childhood leukemia led to a seminal 1979 publication that sparked a decades-long investigation into the role of power frequency magnetic fields in health and biology. Her initial data were acquired with characteristic directness, simplicity, and insight simply by walking the streets and alleys in greater Denver with equipment no more elaborate than the human eye, a pen, and a stack of index cards. That 1979 paper, “Electrical wiring configurations and childhood cancer,” published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, put Nancy and physicist colleague Ed Leeper in the eye of a storm of controversy. As in the 1982 paper on adult leukemia that followed, Wertheimer and Leeper devised power line wire codes as a technique to measure exposure without attempting to engage with all the complexities of a complete characterization of the electric and magnetic fields in each home, an undertaking that went forward much later in the hands of others. Their papers introduced the hypothesis of a causal mechanism for leukemia that directly or indirectly involved environmental 60-Hz magnetic fields. Then, as now, the question was, “Could that really be true?” This became the stimulus for hundreds of others who eventually followed in trying to understand what was going on. The observed associations — like Wertheimer and Leeper themselves — were pushed aside for several years by critics finding faults in the limitations of their methods and observations that lacked a firm mechanistic explanation. However, in 1986 David Savitz and collaborators at the University of Colorado reported comparable results that propelled bioelectromagnetics into the spotlight worldwide and led to RAPID, a multi-year research project mandated by the U.S. Congress, and research programs in many other nations. Staying far from any spotlight, Nancy pursued possible causal factors for the improbable association of weak magnetic fields and cancer using analytic techniques of striking creativity and clarity. The fact that Nancy and Ed worked without major funding is not simply incidental to the overall economy with which they practiced science. For more than a quarter century, many others have undertaken epidemiologic and engineering research of growing intensity and complexity that sprang from Nancy’s open-minded inquiry into possible causes of childhood leukemia. Much has been learned, but at her death, there remains a seemingly irreducible uncertainty about whether the initial reports by Wertheimer and Leeper are essentially right or wrong in pointing to magnetic fields as a possible causal factor. Perhaps this in itself is a fitting epitaph to a scientist with an unblinkered respect for facts as they are, however unsatisfyingly incomplete the picture and tentative the conclusions. I learned much about Nancy when she became a collaborator in a pooled analysis of data from various studies worldwide that followed hers. Working with her as she generously transcribed the original records of her study into a format suitable for pooled analysis, I soon found that her fastidious approach to data was matched by a precision with language that, true to the mark of a fine intellect, did not allow fuzzy ideas, overstatements, and inexact wording. Nancy brought many personal gifts to her career in science, none more powerful than a deep and natural humility that allowed her to stand before data, as before her challengers, with complete respect and without a touch of arrogance. Her simple way of being meant that while others engaged busily in profiting from the career and business opportunities she made possible, Nancy maintained her unquestionable integrity as an independent worker freely pursuing scientific questions that interested her. The dignity with which she bore her tall frame was in its wordless way a perfect rejoinder to those who attacked her. I am saddened by the passing of this woman of grace and quiet strength. Her unique ways of being a human conducting scientific inquiry are worthy of long reflection. They and she will not be forgotten by those privileged to have known her. Asher R. Sheppard Redlands, California.

I remember Nancy Wertheimer as a creative and thoughtful person. She was always cautious about appearing too convinced of her EMF results because she knew the limitations associated with epidemiological work. Nevertheless, her expressed caution caused her observations take on greater weight. She was always probing to try to understand the results she observed in a larger context. I remember receiving occasional phone calls from Nancy to discuss some effects reported to be caused by low intensity ELF EMF because she thought they might help her as she continued to evaluate her published data. Nancy was cordial to every one, and was highly motivated by her research results to find both the cause and the public health significance of her observations. Nancy was a pioneer in Bioelectromagnetics who truly deserved to receive the d'Arsonval Award. Carl Blackman Raleigh, NCC

George V.B. “Van” Cochran, an active member through 1997, passed away in January 2003.