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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Climate

    Explainer: What is attribution science?

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

  7. Climate

    Space weather forecast: Big storms ahead

    Scientists studying blobs of energetic particles shot from the sun may help us prepare for stormy consequences on Earth.

  8. Math

    For these artists, math is their muse

    Artists around the world are finding inspiration in the curves, equations and patterns of mathematics. Here are some of their stories.

  9. Tech

    This robot’s parts are helpless alone, but turn smart as they team up

    In a new system called “particle robotics,” many small, simple helpless units can seemingly come to life and start moving when amassed into a team.

  10. Health & Medicine

    Explainer: Vaccines are not linked to autism

    Some parents say no to children’s vaccines because they worry immunizations could cause autism. But science has looked again and again and still finds no causal tie.