Affect of sound (music) on plant germination and growth.

Thomas Bjorkman tnb1 at
Tue Jan 12 14:04:31 EST 1999

In an article on another newsgroup some kids wrote:

> I have a science fair project, and I need to know if anybody knows how to
> find information about any research or books about if (or how) sound and
> music affects plant growth. I can't find anything at the library. 

I am also asked this fairly frequently during science fair season.
Apparently it has made it into curricula for holding science fairs.

There are three reasons why I find it a lousy question:

1. It is virtually impossible for kids to do an appropriate control, so
they end up with a lousy project. If they are bright enough they realize
it and end up frustrated.

2. The popularity of the question seems to come from Cleve Baxter's marvel
of pseudoscience "The secret life of plants". That is definitely worth

3. The question is never (in my experience) based on an observation made
by the kid. Since observation is step one of the scientific method, that
seems like a good principle to use in science fairs. 

Has anyone put together an answer (or response) to this question? It would
be handy to have when the kids follow suggestions to get in touch with a
nearby botany professor. 

Does anyone have a perspective that could wrench me out of my cynicism on
this question?
Thomas Björkman    
Dept. of Horticultural Sciences   
Cornell University

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