Janet Raloff

Editor, Science News for Students

Editor Janet Raloff has been a part of the Science News Media Group for more than four decades. While a staff writer at Science News, she covered the environment, toxicology, energy, science policy, agriculture and nutrition. She was among the first to give national visibility to such issues as electromagnetic pulse weaponry and hormone-mimicking pollutants, and was the first anywhere to report on the widespread tainting of streams and groundwater sources with pharmaceuticals. Her writing has won awards from the National Association of Science Writers, International Free Press Association and the Institute of Food Technologists. Over the years, Janet has been an occasional commentator on NPR's "Living on Earth" and her work has appeared in several dozen publications. She is also a founding board member of the Society of Environmental Journalists. In July 2007, while still writing for Science News, Janet took over Science News for Students (then known as Science News for Kids) as a part-time responsibility. Eventually, she expanded the magazine's depth, breadth and publication cycle. In 2013 it became her full-time job (although she still writes the occasional story for Science News). Before joining Science News, Janet was managing editor of Energy Research Reports (outside Boston), a staff writer at Chemistry (an American Chemical Society magazine) and a writer/editor for Chicago's Adler Planetarium. Initially an astronomy major, she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (with an elective major in physics). She interned with the Office of Cancer Communications (NIH), Argonne National Laboratory, the Atomic Energy Commission (now Energy Department), the Oak Ridger in Tennessee and the Rock Hill Evening Herald in South Carolina.

All Stories by Janet Raloff

  1. Science & Society

    ICYMI: 2018’s top science offerings

    From gene-edited babies to firenados and lavanados, this year offered both stunning news and curiosities in the world of science and research.

  2. Plants

    Ouch! Lemons and other plants can cause a special sunburn

    These are among a host of plants (many found in the refrigerator vegetable drawer) that produce chemicals that will kill skin cells when activated by sunlight. The result can be a serious, localized sunburn — sometimes with blistering.

  3. Science & Society

    Legendary physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76

    Theoretical research by Stephen Hawking helped shape how scientists and the public alike would come to understand black holes and other facets of astrophysics.

  4. Health & Medicine

    Janet’s chocolate mousse pie

    The top two ingredients — dark chocolate and tofu — both have a reputation for being healthy. The good news for those who don’t like tofu: You can’t taste it in this pie. It just tastes like a very rich, thick chocolate mousse.

  5. Chemistry

    Explainer: Store receipts and BPA

    The chemical BPA may become trapped in the skin, causing it to linger in the body for a week or more after touching receipt paper.

  6. Earth

    Explainer: What makes dirt different from soil

    Although most people use the terms dirt and soil interchangeably, scientists argue that they shouldn’t. Soil has provenance — meaning history. Dirt doesn’t.

  7. Health & Medicine

    Explainer: What is a hormone?

    Various tissues secrete special chemicals, known as hormones. They travel, usually in blood, to a particular distant site where they tell certain cells it’s time to go to work.

  8. Health & Medicine

    Explainer: How the ears work

    Most people probably think of their ears as the flaps on the sides of their heads. But there’s a lot of machinery inside that lets us hear our favorite tunes.

  9. Science & Society

    Fact checking: How to think like a journalist

    In an era when much research can be done online, knowing how to assess what ‘facts’ to trust is essential. Unfortunately, it’s also becoming harder than ever.

  10. Earth

    Editors’ top picks for 2016

    From gravity waves to climate’s human impact and an exploration of post-election racism, we’ve covered the year’s major stories. Here what was most important.

  11. Animals

    Our shocking eel story wins international prize

    Roberta Kwok’s story on the shocking (and surprising) behaviors of electric eels was honored with a win for outstanding science writing.

  12. 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.