2015 Children's Science News - Gold


Stephen Ornes told his youthful readers about the natural events that unfold in clouds to produce the visible bolts and roaring thunder that produce one of nature's most dazzling displays — and also one of its most dangerous. Starting with a harrowing story about hikers caught in a thunderstorm atop a mountain in California's Sequoia National Park, Ornes describes what scientists have learned about the behavior of lightning and what they are still struggling to understand. That includes exactly how a bolt is triggered and how to predict where it might connect with the ground. The judges praised Ornes for his comprehensive review of lightning research. Claudia Wallis, managing editor of Scientific American MIND, called the story "a very engaging explanation of lightning, with great use of a dramatic anecdote." Ornes said he loves to write about science for children "not only because of the subject matter and style but also because it makes me a better dad. I no longer linger at the playground when a storm moves in, and I can finally explain in straightforward terms why hanging out in a thunderstorm is a terrible idea."