Stephen Ornes

Freelance Writer

Stephen Ornes has been writing for Science News Explores since 2008, and his 2014 story "Where Will Lightning Strike?" won an AAAS/Kavli Gold Award. He lives in Nashville, Tenn., and he has three children, who are inventing their own language. His family has a cat, six chickens, and two rabbits, but he secretly thinks hagfish are the most fascinating animals. Stephen has written two books. One is a biography of mathematician Sophie Germain, who was born during the French Revolution. The other, which was published in 2019, features art inspired by math. Visit him online at stephenornes.com.

All Stories by Stephen Ornes

  1. Physics

    Here’s why scientists want a good quantum computer

    These machines could tackle big problems in climate, medicine and more. But the tech is still in its infancy — and runs on truly strange physics.

  2. Tech

    Lego bricks inspired a new way to shape devices for studying liquids

    Inspired by Lego building blocks, the approach could enable design of adaptable tools to study how fluids move through very small spaces.

  3. Math

    Cake-cutting math offers lessons that go far beyond dessert plates

    As a way to study how to fairly share a limited resource, cake-cutting can inform splitting up chores, drawing fair voting districts and more.

  4. Tech

    Balsa wood transistors could usher in ‘greener’ electronics

    Researchers in Sweden coaxed wood to conduct electricity, then used it to make a climate-friendlier building block of electronics.

  5. Tech

    Engineers cook up a new way to tackle CO2: Make baking soda

    Engineers have found a material that can collect carbon dioxide from the air. When later mixed with water, it forms baking soda that can be shed in the sea.

  6. Tech

    With tech, farms can double up to produce both food and power

    Agrivoltaics merges agriculture with photovoltaic panels, which generate electricity from sunlight. The combo produces clean energy and edible crops.

  7. Tech

    Gravity ‘batteries’ might help a weighty renewable-energy problem

    To store the energy generated by wind and solar power, researchers are looking at mammoth systems that raise and lower weights.

  8. Tech

    New robot can pick up a single drop of liquid

    The new device, which looks like a pair of plastic pinchers, is the first to be able to pick up individual droplets of liquid.

  9. Animals

    Some ecologists value parasites — and now want a plan to save them

    Parasites get a bad rap as disease-causing, unwelcome guests on other organisms. But parasites are also imperiled, and scientists don’t want to lose them.

  10. Planets

    Noises sound totally different on Mars than on Earth. Here’s why

    The Perseverance rover recorded the sound of laser pulses on Mars. Scientists used those recordings to determine the Martian speeds of sound.

  11. Tech

    Robots made of cells blur the line between creature and machine

    Scientists are using living cells and tissue as building blocks to make robots. These new machines challenge ideas about robots and life itself.

  12. Tech

    Space trash could kill satellites, space stations — and astronauts

    As private companies prepare to sprinkle space with tens of thousands of satellites, experts worry about the mushrooming threat of space junk.