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

All Stories by Stephen Ornes

  1. Animals

    Can anything stop the big pig invasion?

    Millions of wild pigs roam North America, causing billions of dollars in damage every year. Scientists are looking for new ways to stop the swine.

  2. Tech

    Electricity sensor harnesses a shark’s secret weapon

    A new “quantum” material mimics the sensors that help a shark sense its prey. Like a shark, it can detect tiny electric fields.

  3. Space

    En route to Mars, astronauts may face big health risks

    Going into space brings the thrill of a new frontier — and risks that scientists are racing to understand, from radiation to isolation.

  4. Computing

    How to stop phone apps from spying on you

    Many apps — especially free ones — collect data on a user and then sell them to advertisers. A new tool can help monitor that misuse of personal data and beef up privacy protection.

  5. Animals

    Lasers can turn a spider’s silk into sculptures

    Spider silk is strong and super-stretchy. Scientists have developed a way to sculpt that material into unusual, micro-scale shapes using lasers.

  6. Tech

    Seeing the world through a robot’s eyes

    Engineers in California have developed a new kind of camera that aims to give drones, self-driving cars and other robots better vision.

  7. Chemistry

    Specially coated fabric could turn a shirt into a shield

    Specially treated fabrics offer a new kind of defense against chemical attacks. It could protect troops — and people living in war-torn nations where chemical weapons may be used.

  8. Physics

    The quantum world is mind-bogglingly weird

    At the smallest scales, particles are ghostly and ill-behaved. No one understands them, but that doesn’t keep scientists from trying.

  9. Physics

    Explainer: Quantum is the world of the super small

    The word quantum often gets misused. What does it mean? Think small. Really, really small.

  10. Materials Science

    Vinegar dissolves new electronics when they’re no longer needed

    Now you see it, now you don't. A new lightweight, low-cost technology disintegrates in kitchen vinegar.

  11. Ecosystems

    Cool Jobs: Bringing caves’ dark secrets to light

    These three cave researchers study caves to learn more about climate, geology and organisms that can survive some of Earth’s most hostile environments.

  12. Tech

    These antennas turn anything into a radio station

    Engineers have developed antennas that can turn ordinary objects — even posters — into radio stations.