Helen Thompson is the multimedia editor at Science News. She makes videos, creates data visuals, helps manage the website, 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. Paleontology

    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. Animals

    Tropical wasps memorize friendly faces

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

  3. Plants

    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. Animals

    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. Animals

    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. Plants

    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. 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. Neuroscience

    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. Animals

    Humboldt squid flash and flicker

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

  10. Archaeology

    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. Animals

    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. Life

    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.