John Rennie

Deputy Editor

Illustration that depicts two types of simple molecules reacting in water on the early Earth.
origins of life

New Clues to Chemical Origins of Metabolism at Dawn of Life

October 12, 2020

The ingredients for reactions ancestral to metabolism could have formed very easily in the primordial soup, new work suggests.

Art for "Quanta’s Year in Biology (2019)"
2019 in Review

The Year in Biology

December 23, 2019

Researchers explored the zone between life and death, charted the mind’s system for arranging ideas and memories and learned how life’s complexity emerged.

Photo of lithium batteries
Abstractions blog

Nobel Awarded for Lithium-Ion Batteries and Portable Power

October 9, 2019

John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino shared the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing lithium-ion batteries, “the hidden workhorses of the mobile era.”

Art for "Icefish Study Adds Another Color to the Story of Blood"
evolution

Icefish Study Adds Another Color to the Story of Blood

April 22, 2019

The rainbow of pigments that animals use for blood illustrates a central truth of evolution.

Abstractions blog

Gene Drives Work in Mice (if They’re Female)

January 23, 2019

Biologists have demonstrated for the first time that a controversial genetic engineering technology works, with caveats, in mammals.

Biology - abstract illustration
2018 in Review

The Year in Biology

December 21, 2018

Biologists gained new insights into life’s genomically tumultuous past, viruses as crucial components of life, the hidden talents of complex cells and basic aspects of cognition and memory.

In Theory

How Complex Wholes Emerge From Simple Parts

December 20, 2018

Throughout nature, throngs of relatively simple elements can self-organize into behaviors that seem unexpectedly complex. Scientists are beginning to understand why and how these phenomena emerge without a central organizing entity.

Art for "Three Biochemists Win Chemistry Nobel for Directing Evolution"
Abstractions blog

Three Biochemists Win Chemistry Nobel for Directing Evolution

October 3, 2018

By using the power of evolution to solve practical problems, three researchers opened new avenues to chemical discovery.

Art for "Nobel Prize Awarded for Cancer Immunotherapy"
Abstractions blog

Nobel Prize Awarded for Cancer Immunotherapy

October 1, 2018

James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for developing ways to unleash the immune system more effectively against cancers.

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.