image of Luis Melecio-Zambrano

Luis Melecio-Zambrano

Science Writing Intern, Summer 2023

Luis Melecio-Zambrano was the summer 2023 science writing intern at Science News. They are finishing their master’s degree in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where they have reported on issues of environmental justice and agriculture. Their work has appeared in Science, Mongabay, Eos and the Mercury News, among other publications.

All Stories by Luis Melecio-Zambrano

  1. A photo of the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina.

    ‘Our Fragile Moment’ finds modern lessons in Earth’s history of climate

    Michael Mann’s latest book, Our Fragile Moment, looks through Earth’s history to understand the current climate crisis.

  2. A jar with a top that shows the facial likeness of an Egyptian woman holds the viscera of a woman named Senetnay.

    Ancient Egyptian jars hint at complex mummification balms

    Residue from ancient jars holding the internal organs of the mummy Senetnay hints at early Egyptian trade routes and complex mummification practices.

  3. Pieces of soap made from plastic waste are displayed against a blue background. The soap has the color and reflectiveness of beeswax and is cut in various shapes, including a star, a moon and playing card suits.

    Chemists turned plastic waste into tiny bars of soap

    Researchers developed a process to turn plastic waste into surfactants, the key ingredients in dozens of products, including soap.

  4. Conventional thermal vision depicts this nighttime scene of a forest road in ghostly grays (top). A new AI-aided technology takes thermal data and creates a sharper image (bottom). The system adds color based on the objects detected, shading water blue, for example.
    Artificial Intelligence

    How artificial intelligence sharpens blurry thermal vision images

    A thermal imaging technique uses a special camera and AI to create clear images and accurately gauge distances of objects, even in pitch-blackness

  5. Two emperor penguin chicks stand on the ice. One has buried his head in his soft fur, while the other appears to be nodding off.

    Emperor penguins lost thousands of chicks to melting ice last year

    In 2022, groups of emperor penguins in western Antarctica lost almost all their chicks to receding sea ice, signaling the threat of climate change.

  6. A man sitting in a dark gymnasium with a wet towel draped over his head and upper body.

    Extreme heat taxes the body in many ways. Here’s how

    Climate change is bringing longer, humid heat waves and hotter nights. Here's how our bodies try to beat the heat and what happens when they can't.

  7. A photo of a man in a yellow raincoat standing at the end of a dock with his back to the camera. The background, in black and white, shows Lake Achen in Austria.

    Time in nature or exercise is touted for happiness. But evidence is lacking

    A review of hundreds of studies finds limited strong scientific evidence to support many common recommendations for leading a happier life.

  8. A photo of a crying baby laying on her back on a pillow in front of a window.
    Health & Medicine

    ‘Milking’ umbilical cords may help some sickly newborns

    Taking a few seconds to push umbilical cord blood into a baby’s belly could provide extra essential nutrients. But questions about the practice remain.

  9. A photo of a bird nest made partly out of antibird spikes high up in a tree.

    In a ‘perfect comeback,’ some birds use antibird spikes to build their nests

    The spikes were meant to keep birds away. But five corvid nests in Europe use the bird-deterrents as structural support and to ward off predators.

  10. A photo of three ancient stone artifacts from the island of Palawan in the Philippines on a black background.

    Indigenous input revealed early hints of fiber making in the tropics

    To decipher marks on nearly 40,000-year-old stone tools and figure out what they were used for, researchers turned to the Philippines’ Pala’wan people.