The 2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award Winners | Special Reports | Smithsonian
Special Report
(Jeff Koons)

The 2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award Winners

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

Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

Smithsonian's 2013 Award Winners

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, anufactures, 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. 

American ingenuity in the 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

PHYSICAL SCIENCES WINNER

HISTORICAL SCHOLARSHIP WINNER

EDUCATION WINNER

NATURAL SCIENCES WINNER

YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT WINNER

VISUAL ARTS WINNER

SOCIAL PROGRESS WINNER

PERFORMING ARTS WINNER

TECHNOLOGY WINNER

Highlights from an inspiring evening featuring all of the award winners