Helen Thompson

Helen Thompson

Associate Digital Editor

Helen Thompson is the associate digital editor at Science News. She helps manage the website, makes videos, builds interactives, wrangles cats and occasionally writes about things like dandelion flight and whale evolution. She has undergraduate degrees in biology and English from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and strong opinions about tacos. Before Science News, she wrote for Smithsonian, NPR.org, National Geographic, Nature and others.

All Stories by Helen Thompson

  1. telescope image of a star cluster, which is surrounded by a blue haze

    How do scientists calculate the age of a star?

    There are a few different methods to determine the age of a star, but none are perfect.

  2. black and white image of dusty ruins in Greenwood after the massacre

    To find answers about the 1921 race massacre, Tulsa digs up its painful past

    A century ago, hundreds of people died in a horrific eruption of racial violence in Tulsa. A team of researchers may have found a mass grave from the event.

  3. illustration of ancient bobbit worms

    Giant worms may have burrowed into the ancient seafloor to ambush prey

    20-million-year-old tunnels unearthed in Taiwan may have been home to creatures that ambushed prey similar to today’s monstrous bobbit worms.

  4. flamboyant cuttlefish

    Flamboyant cuttlefish save their bright patterns for flirting, fighting and fleeing

    A new field study of flamboyant cuttlefish shows they don’t always live up to their reputation.

  5. photos of three mummified animals

    X-rays reveal what ancient animal mummies keep under wraps

    A new method of 3-D scanning mummified animals reveals life and death details for a snake, a bird and a cat.

  6. Doctor and patient in Beni, Congo
    Health & Medicine

    The second-worst Ebola outbreak ever is officially over

    As Congo grapples with COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks, the country’s 10th battle against Ebola has ended.

  7. Worker spraying disinfectant in a fitness center
    Health & Medicine

    COVID-19 case clusters offer lessons and warnings for reopening

    As restaurants, offices and other businesses open, trends in where and how COVID-19 transmission is happening could help guide re-entry strategies.

  8. Element character illustration

    Here’s how the periodic table gets new elements

    Today’s scientists keep adding to the periodic table. But an element has to earn its spot.

  9. a cat

    A cat appears to have caught the coronavirus, but it’s complicated

    While a cat in Belgium seems to be the first feline infected with SARS-CoV-2, it’s still unclear how susceptible pets are to the disease.

  10. skull of Chan Hol 3 skeleton

    An ancient skeleton from an underwater Mexican cave sheds light on early Americans

    A nearly 10,000-year-old skeleton discovered in a submerged Mexican cave provides more clues to how and when people settled the Americas.

  11. child scratching measles rash
    Health & Medicine

    One number can help explain why measles is so contagious

    The basic reproduction number, or "R naught," of measles shows how contagious the disease is compared with other pathogens.

  12. bats hibernating

    Vaccines may help bats fight white nose syndrome

    Researchers are developing an oral vaccine that helps little brown bats survive the fungal disease white nose syndrome.