Prize Awarded PDF Print E-mail
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Written by James Randi   

My excellent scientist friend Gyula Bencze informs me that this year's Student Essay Competiton sponsored by Természet Világa – the major Hungarian science journal – held its award ceremony on Saturday, March 7, at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The annual James Randi Prize was awarded to a junior highschool girl, Andrea Palfi of Krudy Gyula Gymnasium in Nyíregyháza, Hungary. The title of her essay was: "Radiesthesia: Harmful environmental effect or fake?" The term “radiesthesia” refers to what we call “dowsing” or “divining” – usually with a forked stick, two pieces of wire, or a pendulum. Andrea’s essay was an empirical study of the effect, for which she hired four different dowsers to find “earth radiation” effects in her apartment. These independent studies of course gave four contradicting results, which raised the question posed in the title of the essay. Her well-written piece will be published in Természet Világa very soon, bringing her what may be only her first publication in a science journal.