Sharon Oosthoek

Freelance Writer

Sharon Oosthoek is a freelance science journalist who lives in Toronto, Canada. She has written about how bed bugs have favorite colors, why your shoelaces untie themselves and how chicken cologne can protect you from malaria.


She likes writing for young readers. They ask good questions, like how do scientists know the Earth is warming?


Sharon also writes for adults. Her articles have appeared in New Scientist, Canadian Geographic, Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, and Chemical & Engineering News. She is the winner of an American Academy for the Advancement of Science Kavli Science Journalism Award for children’s science writing.

All Stories by Sharon Oosthoek

  1. Health & Medicine

    Outdoor time is good for your eyes

    Being outdoors exposes children to bright light that can be good for their eyes. Spending just one extra daylight hour outdoors each week can substantially lower their chance of becoming nearsighted, a study finds.

  2. Tech

    Fingers leave tell-tale clues about you on your phone

    Analyzing chemicals on a cell phone tells researchers what the caller had been up to. That includes recent meals and where they'd been.

  3. Health & Medicine

    Milking chocolate for its health benefits

    Researchers figure out how to give milk chocolate the same health benefits as dark chocolate. The secret ingredient is an extract from peanut skin.

  4. Ecosystems

    Earthworms: Can these gardeners’ friends actually become foes?

    Asian jumping worms can strip leaf litter from floor of U.S. forests, new data show. Many native plants need that leaf litter for their seeds to germinate.

  5. Plants

    Houseplants suck up air pollutants that can sicken people

    Certain indoor air pollutants can sicken people. But some houseplants can remove those chemicals from a room’s air, new data show.

  6. Psychology

    Be true to yourself, even in the face of opposition

    It might seem easier to go with the flow when others disagree with you. But expressing your true opinion can be a positive experience, new data show.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Will chicken cologne guard you from malaria?

    Mosquitoes that carry malaria are repelled by the smell of chickens. In malaria country, that could make these birds a human’s best friend.

  8. Environment

    Uh oh! Baby fish prefer plastic to real food

    Given a choice, baby fish will eat plastic microbeads instead of real food. That plastic stunts their growth and makes them easier prey for predators.

  9. Health & Medicine

    Bed bugs have favorite colors

    Bed bugs change their color preferences as they get older. Adults like red and black, which may help the dark bugs avoid predators.

  10. Oceans

    Polar bears swim for days as sea ice retreats

    Melting sea ice is forcing polar bears to swim long distances — up to nine days in one case. Such long treks may be more than the bears can handle.

  11. Health & Medicine

    Teen girls start drinking earlier than boys

    Teen girls now tend to take up drinking alcohol earlier than do boys, data show. Drinking-prevention programs, however, tend to focus on boys.

  12. Climate

    Concerns about Earth’s fever

    Burning fossil fuels is causing the planet to heat up, causing weather patterns to change, sea levels to rise and diseases to spread.