Stephen Ornes

Freelance Writer

Stephen Ornes has been writing for Science News for Students 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. Tech

    This artificial skin feels ‘ghosts’ — things you wish were there

    Engineers have developed a wearable device that simulates the sense of touch. It may benefit robotic surgery and deep-sea exploration.

  2. Tech

    Computers are changing how art is made

    Some people have challenged the idea that artificial intelligence can be creative. But new software can provide inspiration to artists or fully partner with them in the creative process.

  3. Tech

    Trees power this alarm system for remote forest fires

    Wind moving through tree branches is all the energy needed to power devices that can detect a remote fire before it rages into an uncontrolled inferno.

  4. Animals

    Whales get a second life as deep-sea buffets

    When a whale dies and sinks to the seafloor, it becomes a feast for hundreds of different types of creatures.

  5. Materials Science

    Micro-barbs could make shots less painful

    A new type of microneedle design might take the sting out of shots and stick to the skin better than other approaches.

  6. Climate

    How to curb the climate heating by contrails

    Contrails are narrow clouds left behind in the sky by jets. They add to climate change. But a new study suggests a way to curb their contribution.

  7. Materials Science

    New twist can hush — even cloak — some sounds

    Swiss engineers developed clear, spiral structures to make a new sound-dampening system. Those twists block some vibrations and lets others through.

  8. Materials Science

    Self-powered surface may evaluate table-tennis play

    Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology built a 'smart' surface on which to play table tennis. It can track the location, speed and direction of the ball.

  9. Math

    How math makes movies like Doctor Strange so otherworldly

    In the 1970s, a mathematician introduced geometric patterns that he named fractals. Moviemakers are now using those patterns to create dazzling digital effects.

  10. Climate

    Hotspots found for lightning’s superbolts

    A nine-year survey reveals where and when the most energetic lightning strikes — and it’s not what scientists expected.

  11. Physics

    Scientists find the secret to colossal bubbles

    What’s the right mix of materials to blow big bubbles that stretch without popping? Physicists have turned up the solution.

  12. Climate

    Explainer: What is attribution science?

    A relatively new, developing field of science investigates possible links between climate change and extreme weather events.