John Rennie

Deputy Editor

Art for "Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells"
Abstractions blog

Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells

Faced with a navigational challenge, neural networks spontaneously evolved units resembling the grid cells that help living animals find their way.

Illustration for brain computer interface
Abstractions blog

Brains Cling to Old Habits When Learning New Tricks

Using a brain-computer interface, scientists are beginning to learn why learning is hard.

520px photo of phytoplankton
Abstractions blog

Evolution Saves Species From ‘Kill the Winner’ Disasters

Modelers find evidence that a combination of competition, predation and evolution will push ecosystems toward species diversity anywhere in the universe.

Red slime mold

Seeing the Beautiful Intelligence of Microbes

Bacterial biofilms and slime molds are more than crude patches of goo. Detailed time-lapse microscopy reveals how they sense and explore their surroundings, communicate with their neighbors and adaptively reshape themselves.

Cryo-electron microscopy
Abstractions blog

Supercool Protein Imaging Gets the Nobel Prize

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to researchers who made it possible to see proteins and other biomolecules at an atomic level of detail.

Abstractions blog

Nobel Prize Awarded for Biological Clock Discoveries

Three U.S. biologists share the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research into the molecular mechanism that drives circadian rhythm.

cerebral organoid, or mini-brain
Abstractions blog

Mini-Brains Go Modular

To create a good living replica of the human brain, your best hope may be to let “organoid” components assemble it for you.

Sylvia Earle in one-person submersible DeepWorker
Abstractions blog

Sylvia Earle Is Not Done Exploring

The legendary marine biologist discusses why she’s excited about the coming era of ocean science, the shortsightedness of maritime exploitation and diving in the Arctic in her 80s.

Tidal pool with ocean life
Abstractions blog

Awash in Sea of Data, Ecologists Turn to Open Access Tools

To assess the ocean’s health, ecology’s “rugged individualists” learned to get with the big data program.

About the author

John Rennie joined Quanta Magazine as deputy editor in 2017. Previously, he spent 20 years at Scientific American, where he served as editor in chief between 1994 and 2009. He created and hosted Hacking the Planet, an original 2013 TV series for The Weather Channel, and has appeared frequently on television and radio on programs such as PBS’s Newshour, ABC’s World News Now, NPR’s Science Friday, the History Channel special Clash of the Cavemen and the Science Channel series Space’s Deepest Secrets. John has also been an adjunct professor of science writing at New York University since 2009. Most recently, he was editorial director of McGraw-Hill Education’s online science encyclopedia AccessScience.