Helen Thompson

Associate Digital Editor, Science News

Helen Thompson was the associate digital editor at Science News. She makes videos, builds interactives, wrangles cats and occasionally writes about things like dandelion flight and whale evolution. She has undergraduate degrees in biology and English from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and strong opinions about tacos. Before Science News, she wrote for Smithsonian, NPR.org, National GeographicNature and others.

All Stories by Helen Thompson

  1. Animals

    Watch how a western banded gecko takes down a scorpion

    New high-speed video reveals how normally mild-mannered geckos can violently shake venomous prey into submission.

  2. Space

    Explainer: Calculating a star’s age

    Scientists can figure out a star's mass or composition pretty easily. Determining how old that star is, however, is a lot harder.

  3. Animals

    Giant worms may have hidden beneath the ancient seafloor to ambush prey

    Twenty-million-year-old tunnels unearthed in Taiwan may have been home to creatures similar to today’s monstrous bobbit worms.

  4. Archaeology

    See what these animal mummies are keeping under wraps

    A new method of 3-D scanning mummified animals reveals life and death details of a snake, a bird and a cat that lived in ancient Egypt.

  5. Health & Medicine

    By the numbers: How infectious measles and other diseases spread

    A number called R0 measures how contagious an infectious disease is. It helps explain why measles is so dangerous.

  6. Animals

    Yes, cats know their own names

    Cats can tell their names apart from other spoken words. A new study supports what cat owners the world over had suspected.

  7. Environment

    Pacific garbage patch may be 16 times bigger than thought

    The giant ‘garbage patch’ that floats between Hawaii and California weighs at least 79,000 tons, a new estimate suggests.

  8. Planets

    What the Curiosity rover has learned about Mars so far

    Scientists take stock of what the Curiosity rover has learned after five years on Mars — and what else it may turn up in the next year or so.

  9. Genetics

    Scientists hide a real movie within a germ’s DNA

    A gene-editing technology called CRISPR helped scientists encode a short movie in the DNA of E. coli bacteria.

  10. Archaeology

    DNA from African mummies tie these folk to Middle Easterners

    Ancient DNA extracted from 90 Egyptian mummies reveals genetic links to Greece and the Middle East.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Flu fighter found in frog slime

    A protein found in the mucus secretions of an Indian frog can take down a type of flu virus, a new study finds.

  12. Science & Society

    Fossils point to Neandertal diets — and medicine use

    Whether Neandertals were largely meat-eaters or vegans depended on their environment, fossils now suggest. Their teeth also indicate they used natural medicines.