Tom Siegfried

Tom Siegfried

Contributing Correspondent

Tom Siegfried is a contributing correspondent. He was editor in chief of Science News from 2007 to 2012, and he was the managing editor from 2014 to 2017. He is the author of the blog Context. In addition to Science News, his work has appeared in Science, Nature, Astronomy, New Scientist and Smithsonian. Previously he was the science editor of The Dallas Morning News. He is the author of four books: The Bit and the Pendulum (Wiley, 2000); Strange Matters (National Academy of Sciences’ Joseph Henry Press, 2002);  A Beautiful Math (2006, Joseph Henry Press); and The Number of the Heavens (Harvard University Press, 2019). Tom was born in Lakewood, Ohio, and grew up in nearby Avon. He earned an undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University with majors in journalism, chemistry and history, and has a master of arts with a major in journalism and a minor in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. His awards include the American Geophysical Union's Robert C. Cowen Award for Sustained Achievement in Science Journalism, the Science-in Society award from the National Association of Science Writers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science-Westinghouse Award, the American Chemical Society’s James T. Grady-James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public, and the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award.

All Stories by Tom Siegfried

  1. Tech

    Networks of networks are all around you — and you are one

  2. Neuroscience

    Self as Symbol

  3. Math

    Medicine needs a sensible way to measure weight of the evidence

  4. Love affair with statistics gives science a significant problem

    Scientists love statistical significance. It offers a way to test hypotheses. It’s a ticket to publishing, to media coverage, to tenure. It’s also a crock — statistically speaking, anyway. You know the idea. When scientists ­perform an experiment and their data suggest an important result — say, that watching TV causes ­influenza — there’s always the nagging concern that the finding […]

  5. For what you want to know, Bayes offers superior stats

    It turns out that the old adage about statistics and damned lies wasn’t a joke. Sticks and stones may be bonebreakers, and words inflict no (physical) pain, but numbers can kill. In 2004, for instance, a statistical analysis suggested that antidepressant drugs raised the risk of suicide in youngsters and adolescents, leading the U.S. Food […]

  6. Math

    If bird brains grasp statistical mechanics, there’s hope for predicting human behavior

  7. Microbes

    Whether for brains or bacteria, intelligence is all about food

  8. Atomic Anatomy

    Ernest Rutherford grew up in the 19th century. He created the 20th. Ernest Rutherford won a Nobel Prize for research on the nature of radioactivity. Bain collection/Library of Congress MOSTLY EMPTY Rutherford revealed that almost all of an atom’s mass is concentrated in a very small and dense nucleus (orange), shown here roughly 1,000 times […]

  9. Out of the fabric

    Of all the mysteries of life and the universe, none resist the sleuthing of science’s best private eyes more obstinately than the ultimate nature of space and time. Every several centuries or so, profound insights do occur, immortalizing the names of the investigators who achieved them: Euclid (who cataloged the insights preceding him), Galileo, Newton, […]

  10. Cosmic questions, answers pending

    Throughout human history, great missions of exploration have been inspired by curiosity, the desire to find out about unknown realms. Such missions have taken explorers across wide oceans and far below their surfaces, deep into jungles, high onto mountain peaks and over vast stretches of ice to the Earth’s polar extremities. Today’s greatest exploratory mission […]

  11. Health & Medicine

    Mom’s past drug abuse may alter brain chemistry of offspring

    A new study in rats suggests that the lingering effects of adolescent opiate use may be passed on for two generations, even if the female is drug-free when she gets pregnant.

  12. Life

    Three scientists, three wishes (with extras for the cosmologist)

    Research luminaries reveal the questions they'd most like to see answered.