Dizzy Gillespie in Hamburg, 1973

Dizzy Gillespie and His Bent Trumpet

Here's how the Smithsonian acquired the instrument of one of the world's most influential and unconventional American jazz musicians

On December 10, 1941, Joy Cummings poses with one of the four cherry trees vandalized at Washington, DC's Tidal Basic.

Vintage Headlines

After Pearl Harbor, Vandals Cut Down Four of DC's Japanese Cherry Trees

In response to calls to destroy all the trees, officials rebranded them as "Oriental" rather than "Japanese"

Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks

Spending more of your day standing could reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer


Art Meets Science

Can Bullets Be Beautiful?

Photographer Sabine Pearlman exposes the surprisingly delicate innards of rounds of ammunition

Zoo Keepers Are Hand-Rearing A Tiny Sloth Bear Cub

After her mother consumed two other cubs, staff took the unprecedented step of raising her themselves

New Research

The Human Nose Can Distinguish Between One Trillion Different Smells

New research says our olfactory system is far more sensitive than we thought

An artist's rendering of Kepler-34b, an exoplanet believed to orbit two stars.

Life in the Cosmos

How Do Astronomers Actually Find Exoplanets?

A handful of ingenious methods have been used to detect the planets too far away for us to see

An artist's rendering of the Big Bang.

New Research

A New Cosmic Discovery Could Be The Closest We’ve Come to the Beginning of Time

Scientists detect the signature of gravitational waves generated in the first moments of the Big Bang

Floating glaciers in Iceland's Jökulsárlón Lagoon naturally creak and groan as they break apart.

Art Meets Science

What Are the Acoustic Wonders of the World?

Sonic engineer Trevor Cox is on a mission to find the planet's most interesting sounds


Do You Live Within 50 Miles of a Nuclear Power Plant?

A new interactive map tells you exactly how far you live from a nuclear reactor

New Research

Why Google Flu Trends Can't Track the Flu (Yet)

The vaunted big data project falls victim to periodic tweaks in Google's own search algorithms

Russia and Alaska's current coastlines (the dashed black lines), compared to ancient Beringia (shown in green), the land bridge that brought humans to North America.

New Research

Ancient Migration Patterns to North America Are Hidden in Languages Spoken Today

Languages spoken in North America and Siberia are distantly related. What does that tell us about the first Americans?

Jupiter's moon Europa, potentially home to a liquid water ocean, is considered one of the likeliest locales for extraterrestrial life.

Life in the Cosmos

Where in the Solar System Are We Most Likely to Find Life?

A number of interplanetary destinations could harbor extraterrestrial life—finding it could be just a space mission away

Shealy poses with a cast of a Skunk Ape footprint he says he made in 1998.

On the Trail of Florida's Bigfoot—the Skunk Ape

Is an imaginary creature a case of mistaken identity?

The traditional geographic coordinate system identifies locations on the globe with a pair of long numbers. what3words proposes using language instead.

A Plan To Replace Geographic Coordinates on Earth With Unique Strings of Three Words

The startup what3words wants to change the way we talk about locations

Pithovirus sibericum, TKTK

New Research

The World's Largest Virus Was Just Resurrected From 34,000-Year-Old Permafrost

It's not a threat to humans, but does show that ancient viruses can persist for millennia and remain a potential health threat

Solomon Northup, portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave.

Vintage Headlines

The New York Times' 1853 Coverage of Solomon Northup, the Hero of "12 Years A Slave"

Northup's story garnered heavy press coverage and spread widely in the weeks and months after he was rescued

New Research

Doctors' Stethoscopes Can Transmit Bacteria As Easily As Unwashed Hands

New research shows that the instruments could be a vector for bacterial infections—a concern, as they're infrequently sterilized

Fossil whale skeletons, evidence of an ancient mass stranding of the animals, discovered during the building of the Pan-American Highway in the Atacama Region of Chile in 2011.

New Research

Scientists Solve the Mystery of a Nine-Million-Year-Old Mass Whale Die-Off

Ancient blooms of toxic algae appear to have killed dozens of whales at once

Marilyn Monroe performs at a USO show in 1954.

New Research

Science Explores Our Magical Belief in the Power of Celebrity

People will pay more for memorabilia, a study finds, simply if they believe a celebrity touched it

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