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. 3-D image of fossilized wolf skull

    Ancient wolf skulls challenge dog domestication timeline

    A 3-D analysis of two ancient canine skulls from Russia and Belgium suggests the fossils were of wolves, not dogs.

  2. wasp faces

    Tropical wasps memorize friendly faces

    A social wasp species uses sight and smell to keep intruders from hijacking their nests.

  3. Newton's journal

    Isaac Newton’s theory of how water defies gravity in plants

    A passage in one of Isaac Newton’s journals reveals that he may have theorized basic plant hydrodynamics long before botanists.

  4. Norther bald ibises flying

    Migrating ibises take turns leading the flying V

    During migration, ibises flying in a V formation cooperate and take turns flying in wake to save energy, a new study suggests.

  5. cribellate orb spider

    How a spider spins electrified nanosilk

    The cribellate orb spider (Uloborus plumipes) hacks and combs its silk to weave electrically charged nanofibers, a new study suggests.

  6. Goldenrod in a field

    Plant chemical weaponry may offer ammunition for pesticides

    Chemicals produced by two plant species disrupt insect hormone pathways and could be developed in to efficient, safe pesticides.

  7. Ebola trial participant getting vaccinated
    Health & Medicine

    Ebola vaccine performs well in U.K. human trial

    A vaccine that protects against the Zaire strain of Ebola turns in promising preliminary results from a human trial.

  8. woman drinking from water fountain

    Two sets of neurons turn thirst on and off

    A study in mice reveals that two neural groups in the hypothalamus drive the body’s need to quench or not to quench.

  9. Squid with video camera pack

    Humboldt squid flash and flicker

    Scientists capture the color-changing behavior of Humboldt squid in the wild.

  10. Herculaneum scroll

    Scrolls preserved in Vesuvius eruption read with X-rays

    A technique called X-ray phase contrast tomography allowed scientists to read burnt scrolls from a library destroyed by the 79 A.D. eruption of Vesuvius.

  11. Weddell seal

    Diving marine mammals take deep prey plunges to heart

    In spite of their diving prowess, Weddell seals and bottlenosed dolphins experience irregular heart rates when they venture beyond 200 meters under the sea.

  12. Jawed fish tree

    Fossilized fish skull shakes up the evolutionary history of jaws

    Analysis of a 415-million-year-old fossilized fish skull suggest that the earliest jawed vertebrates probably looked a lot like modern bony fish.