Gabriel Popkin

Contributing Writer

Root glowing green against black background. Small spheres and threadlike filaments surround it.
ecology

Soil’s Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests

August 27, 2019

In the “underground economy” for soil nutrients, fungi strike hard bargains and punish plants that won’t meet their price.

Art for "Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor"
climate science

Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor

October 9, 2018

New work at the intersection of atmospheric science and ecology is finding that forests can influence rainfall and climate from across a continent.

Illustration for "Ultra-Accurate Clocks Lead Search for New Laws of Physics"
experimental physics

Ultra-Accurate Clocks Lead Search for New Laws of Physics

April 16, 2018

Atomic clocks are letting physicists tighten the lasso around elusive phenomena such as dark matter.

biophysics

Bacteria Use Brainlike Bursts of Electricity to Communicate

September 5, 2017

With electrical signals, simple cells organize themselves into complex societies and negotiate with other colonies.

School of Fish
biophysics

Swirling Bacteria Linked to the Physics of Phase Transitions

May 4, 2017

The new experiments suggest that simple models can explain the behavior of thousands of interacting organisms.

biophysics

Jammed Cells Expose the Physics of Cancer

August 16, 2016

The subtle mechanics of densely packed cells may help explain why some cancerous tumors stay put while others break off and spread through the body.

ecology

A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction

October 13, 2015

Complex natural systems defy analysis using a standard mathematical toolkit, so one ecologist is throwing out the equations.

About the author

Gabriel Popkin is a freelance science and environmental writer based in Mount Rainier, Md., just outside the nation’s capital. He has written for Science, Nature, The New York Times, Johns Hopkins Magazine, APS News and many others.