Sarah Scoles

Sarah Scoles

Contributing Editor

Sarah Scoles is a freelance science journalist and regular Popular Science contributor, who’s been writing for the publication since 2014. She covers the ways that science and technology interact with societal, corporate, and national security interests. The author of the books Making Contact, They Are Already Here, Astronomical Mindfulness, and the forthcoming Mass Defect, she lives in Denver and escapes to the mountains to search for abandoned mines and ghost towns as often as she can.



  • Science reporter with a telescopic eye on how space and physics research play out in both everyday life and the shadowy military-intelligence world
  • Obsessed with the human stories behind science news
  • Other bylines in publications like The New York Times, Wired, Scientific American, Science, VICE, Atlas Obscura.


Sarah started writing for Popular Science in 2014 and came on as a contributing editor in 2017. As a freelance journalist, she’s currently a contributing writer at Wired and reports for a variety of publications about astronomy’s culture, the space industry, weird military science projects, mining, UFOs, and nuclear science and weapons. She’s interested in the ways that everything from unseeable subatomic particles to orbiting spacecraft influence macroscopic life on the ground. Previously, she was an Associate Editor at Astronomy magazine and a public education officer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. The author of three books, she won the American Geophysical Union’s David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Writing in 2021 and the American Astronomical Society Solar Physics Division’s Popular Media Award in both 2019 and 2020, the former for a Popular Science story about the “Space Weather Woman.”


Sarah graduated from Agnes Scott College with a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics. From there, she went on to Cornell University for a Masters of Fine Arts in fiction writing. In 2018, Cornell awarded her the 2018 Freund Prize in Creative Writing for alumni.

Favorite weird science fact

The CIA used an early SETI instrument, which scientists had built to help search for aliens, to spy on Soviet spacecraft hanging out near Venus.

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