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

All Stories by Stephen Ornes

  1. Physics

    The quantum world is mind-bogglingly weird

    At the smallest scales, particles are ghostly and ill-behaved. No one understands them, but that doesn’t keep scientists from trying.

  2. Physics

    Explainer: Quantum is the world of the super small

    The word quantum often gets misused. What does it mean? Think small. Really, really small.

  3. Materials Science

    Vinegar dissolves new electronics when they’re no longer needed

    Now you see it, now you don't. A new lightweight, low-cost technology disintegrates in kitchen vinegar.

  4. Ecosystems

    Cool Jobs: Bringing caves’ dark secrets to light

    These three cave researchers study caves to learn more about climate, geology and organisms that can survive some of Earth’s most hostile environments.

  5. Tech

    These antennas turn anything into a radio station

    Engineers have developed antennas that can turn ordinary objects — even posters — into radio stations.

  6. Tech

    Star Trek gets closer to becoming home tech

    Inspired by Star Trek, inventors have created handheld devices to diagnose common medical ailments.

  7. Tech

    ‘Nanostraws’ safely sneak a peek inside cells

    Scientists have developed tiny straws that let them peek inside a living cell without killing it or even damaging it.

  8. Tech

    Auto-focus eyeglasses rely on liquid lenses

    Engineers have designed what could be the last eyeglasses anyone would need. Right now, they’re bulky but smart. Liquid lenses are key to their adjustability — and those lenses focus automatically.

  9. Computing

    Germs power new paper batteries

    New paper-based batteries rely on bacteria to generate electricity. These ‘papertronic’ power systems may be a safer choice for remote sites or dangerous environments.

  10. Computing

    When your stuff spies on you

    More ordinary objects are going online. These make up the Internet of Things. But as they collect data about you and your world, they also bring security risks.

  11. Computing

    The Internet of Things wants to link all facets of our world

    The Internet of Things means everyday objects are becoming computers. Can people harness this technology to make the world better?

  12. Computing

    How to build computer chips only 3 atoms thick

    Scientists have engineered an ultrathin material only three atoms thick. The material could be used to make extremely slender computer chips.