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2013 Smithsonian Ingenuity Awards

2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards

We recognize nine of the past year's shining achievements and the innovators behind them

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The phrase "American ingenuity," admittedly, has always been pretty boastful. As early as 1838 the Mechanic's Register, a “journal of the useful arts, trades, manufactures, science, etc." was ready to proclaim, “The whole world must, ere long, acknowledge the superiority of American ingenuity." There is, in fact, something notable about American know-how, a dynamism that scholars say can be traced to the nation’s founding freedoms, including the freedom to make a fortune.

Mechanic's Register sense was tied to the then-raging Industrial Revolution, but the concept still has value, even after all the profound transformations that have taken place, so many that it may be best to think of our time as one of "permanent revolution," to borrow the historian Horace Judson's description of modern science.

It's because change nowadays is constant and dizzying, in the arts and society as well as the sciences, that we created the American Ingenuity Awards—to recognize nine shining achievements from the past year or so that are having a revolutionary effect on how we perceive the world and how we live. They are, we think, worth boasting about.

—Michael Caruso, Editor in Chief

Historical Scholarship: Caroline Winterer

Physical Sciences: John Rogers

Education: Caroline Hoxby

Natural Sciences: Michael Skinner

Youth: Saumil Bandyopadhyay

Visual Arts: Doug Aitken

Social Progress: Mimi Lok and Dave Eggers

Performing Arts: St. Vincent

Technology: Adam Steltzner

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