LAURA POPPICK

I am a freelance science writer with roots in rocks, ice, oceans, and environmental change. My work has appeared in Smithsonian, ScienceNOW, Wired, and other publications. I have a graduate degree in Science Communication from UC Santa Cruz and live in Portland, Maine.


• Recent Clips • 

Footprints Found at Ancient Hot Springs Could Represent Earliest Settlement of Tibetan Plateau |SMITHSONIAN, JANUARY 2017| New age measurements of the footprints help pinpoint when humans first settled the highest region on Earth.

Footprints Found at Ancient Hot Springs Could Represent Earliest Settlement of Tibetan Plateau |SMITHSONIAN, JANUARY 2017| New age measurements of the footprints help pinpoint when humans first settled the highest region on Earth.

Sure, Earth Could Get Hit By a Deadly Asteroid - But There's an Upside |SMITHSONIAN, DECEMBER 2016| Preparing for devastating asteroid impacts offers unusual opportunities for global collaboration.

Sure, Earth Could Get Hit By a Deadly Asteroid - But There's an Upside |SMITHSONIAN, DECEMBER 2016| Preparing for devastating asteroid impacts offers unusual opportunities for global collaboration.

Decades-Old Chemicals May Be Threatening Polar Bear Fertility |SMITHSONIAN, DECEMBER 2016| A new study sheds light on how today's pollutants could become tomorrow's threats to wildlife and humans.  

Decades-Old Chemicals May Be Threatening Polar Bear Fertility |SMITHSONIAN, DECEMBER 2016| A new study sheds light on how today's pollutants could become tomorrow's threats to wildlife and humans.
 

What Tickling Giggly Rats Can Tell Us About the Brain |SMITHSONIAN, NOVEMBER 2016| New research offers insight into where exactly in the brain ticklish laughter comes from.

What Tickling Giggly Rats Can Tell Us About the Brain |SMITHSONIAN, NOVEMBER 2016| New research offers insight into where exactly in the brain ticklish laughter comes from.

Predicting Chaos: New Sensors Sniff Out Volcanic Eruptions Before They Happen |SMITHSONIAN, OCTOBER 2016| How volcanologists brave lung-singeing fumes to monitor eruptions with cutting-edge sensors.

Predicting Chaos: New Sensors Sniff Out Volcanic Eruptions Before They Happen |SMITHSONIAN, OCTOBER 2016| How volcanologists brave lung-singeing fumes to monitor eruptions with cutting-edge sensors.

The Solar Storm the Nearly Set the Cold War Ablaze |SMITHSONIAN, AUGUST 2016| How radio interference from a 1967 solar storm spooked the U.S. military—and launched space weather forecasting.

The Solar Storm the Nearly Set the Cold War Ablaze |SMITHSONIAN, AUGUST 2016| How radio interference from a 1967 solar storm spooked the U.S. military—and launched space weather forecasting.

The Tiny World of Glacier Microbes Has an Outsized Impact on Global Climate |SMITHSONIAN, JULY 2016| Microbes living on glaciers collectively cover an area the size of New Hampshire—and they could have a big influence on global climate.

The Tiny World of Glacier Microbes Has an Outsized Impact on Global Climate |SMITHSONIAN, JULY 2016| Microbes living on glaciers collectively cover an area the size of New Hampshire—and they could have a big influence on global climate.

So Why Does a Zebra Really Have Stripes? |THE WASHINGTON POST via LIVE SCIENCE, JANUARY 2015| The iconic stripes of zebras may play a role in this animal's ability to regulate body temperature and avoid fly bites.

So Why Does a Zebra Really Have Stripes? |THE WASHINGTON POST via LIVE SCIENCE, JANUARY 2015| The iconic stripes of zebras may play a role in this animal's ability to regulate body temperature and avoid fly bites.

Meet the Couple Who Could Be the First Humans to Travel to Mars |WIRED SCIENCE, JULY 2014| Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum have been planning a trip to Mars for 20 years now. They have finally accrued most of the materials they would need to survive the trip -- but not the flight vehicle.

Meet the Couple Who Could Be the First Humans to Travel to Mars |WIRED SCIENCE, JULY 2014| Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum have been planning a trip to Mars for 20 years now. They have finally accrued most of the materials they would need to survive the trip -- but not the flight vehicle.


• From the Archives 

The Women Who Removed Birds From People's Hats |LADYBITS on POPULAR SCIENCE BLOGS, May 2014| • The modern conservation movement has its roots in a crusade of women infuriated by the Victorian fad of pinning birds to hats. 

The Women Who Removed Birds From People's Hats |LADYBITS on POPULAR SCIENCE BLOGS, May 2014| • The modern conservation movement has its roots in a crusade of women infuriated by the Victorian fad of pinning birds to hats. 

Shutdown Could Flush Years of Antarctic Research Down the Drain |LIVE SCIENCE, October 2013| • A decade of planning and $10 million of funding could (and did) go to waste due to the government shutdown.  

Shutdown Could Flush Years of Antarctic Research Down the Drain |LIVE SCIENCE, October 2013| • A decade of planning and $10 million of funding could (and did) go to waste due to the government shutdown.  

Ancient Forest Thaws from Melting Glacial Tomb |LIVE SCIENCE, September 2013| • An Alaskan forest that has been buried beneath a glacier for more than 1,000 years has now begun thawing with the glacier's retreat. 

Ancient Forest Thaws from Melting Glacial Tomb |LIVE SCIENCE, September 2013| • An Alaskan forest that has been buried beneath a glacier for more than 1,000 years has now begun thawing with the glacier's retreat. 

Nanostructures Make Viper Skin Ultra-Black and Stealthy |WIRED, May 2013| • The African Gaboon viper owes its superb camouflage abilities to hair-like nanostructures in its jet-black scales. 

Nanostructures Make Viper Skin Ultra-Black and Stealthy |WIRED, May 2013| • The African Gaboon viper owes its superb camouflage abilities to hair-like nanostructures in its jet-black scales. 

One Hobbyist's Stunning Collection of Beetles from Around the World |WIRED, April 2013| • A retired meat researcher from Germany's Federal Center for Meat Research in Bavaria has picked up a hobby that consumes most of his time: beetle collecting. Over the past 30 years, he has amassed more than 30,000 specimens. He is also a talented photographer. Here are some of his most stunning images.

One Hobbyist's Stunning Collection of Beetles from Around the World |WIRED, April 2013| • A retired meat researcher from Germany's Federal Center for Meat Research in Bavaria has picked up a hobby that consumes most of his time: beetle collecting. Over the past 30 years, he has amassed more than 30,000 specimens. He is also a talented photographer. Here are some of his most stunning images.

Tree rings for lobsters |SCIENCENOW, December 2012| • Crustaceans hide their ages well, since they shed their shell every year when they molt. But a Canadian marine biologist has now discovered growth rings in lobsters, shrimp, and crabs, as reliable as trees rings and clam shells. 

Tree rings for lobsters |SCIENCENOW, December 2012| • Crustaceans hide their ages well, since they shed their shell every year when they molt. But a Canadian marine biologist has now discovered growth rings in lobsters, shrimp, and crabs, as reliable as trees rings and clam shells. 


 • Fieldwork • 

Somehow, I continue finding work in amazing places.

Hover on images to view captions.