Helen Thompson

Associate Digital Editor, Science News

Helen Thompson is the associate digital editor at Science News. She helps manage the website, 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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Archaeology

    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.

  9. Animals

    Peacock spider’s radiant rump comes from teeny tiny structures

    Male peacock spiders have highly colored hind ends that they shake to attract females. Scientists have now figured out the physics responsible for those hues.

  10. Health & Medicine

    U.S. to outlaw antibacterial soaps

    Soaps with germ-killing compounds promise cleaner hands. But manufacturers couldn’t show they offer any safety advantage. Now the U.S. government is banning them.