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. Animals

    A spider’s feet hold a hairy, sticky secret

    Their widespread stickiness traces to the shape of hairs on its feet, scientists now find.

  2. Tech

    Tiny swimming robots may help clean up a microplastics mess

    Big problem, tiny solution. Researchers in the Czech Republic have designed swimming robots that can help collect and break down microplastics.

  3. Planets

    The pebbled path to planets

    Small pebbles zipping through a sea of gas may give rise to mighty planets.

  4. Tech

    No animal died to make this steak

    The ribeye steak is the first of its kind, and the latest in a growing list of meats printed with a 3-D bioprinter instead of being harvested from an animal.

  5. Environment

    Unmasking the pandemic’s pollution problem

    Discarding all the materials people use to protect themselves from COVID-19 has created a growing environmental problem.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.