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Algoa Bay, South Africa, is home to nearly half of the world’s remaining African penguins, whose numbers have fallen as much as 98 percent since 1900.

These Artificial Nests Are Helping African Penguins Beat the Heat

Ceramic nests deployed on penguin colonies in South Africa could shield the endangered seabirds from rising temperatures

“Dale Chihuly is one of the most important artists of the 21st century,” says Stephanie Stebich, the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, who is among the experts interviewed in a new documentary, "Master of Glass: The Art of Dale Chihuly."

The Unrivaled Legacy of Dale Chihuly

The pioneering glassmaker and octogenarian is the subject of a new Smithsonian Channel documentary

The top ten toys rated by Purdue University engineers help children build spatial reasoning, problem solving, coding and design thinking skills, among others.

Engineers Pick the Ten Best STEM Toys to Give as Gifts in 2022

Children can build strategy, critical thinking and resilience during expert-approved play

Under the right conditions, researchers say, some crop yields could increase by 50 percent or more.

Is Hacking Photosynthesis the Key to Increasing Crop Yields?

It’s an agricultural moonshot, but scientists hope to make plants like corn, wheat and barley as heat and drought resistant as cactus

With one vast root system, Pando weighs more than 6,600 tons and contains approximately 47,000 genetically identical stems (or branches).

The World's Largest Tree Is Ready for Its Close-Up

Friends of Pando, a nonprofit, is in the process of creating the largest image ever recorded of this single aspen clone in Utah

Scientists are testing this 15th-century letter for chemical traces of its author, Vlad Dracula, Transylvanian ruler and inspiration for the fictional count.

Document Detectives Use Smudges and Bloodstains to Investigate the Past

Proteins left behind on historic artifacts are revealing centuries-old secrets

The Wright Flyer is among the iconic artifacts held at the Smithsonian. When visitors come to see it, they tend to fall silent, says curator Peter Jakab. “People often recognize that they’re standing in front of something special.”

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

How the Wright Brothers Took Flight

The remarkable story of how the duo grew to become world-changing inventors and international celebrities

Prickly pear fruit growing on cactus

Is There a Market for Edible Cactus in the United States?

Often treated as a weed, the versatile prickly pear cactus could be the next big specialty crop

Shark skin is made of tiny, stiff segments of overlapping, textured dentin and enamel. Shark skin’s distinctive texture gives sharks greater efficiency moving through the water.

Shark Skin-Inspired Materials Have a Long Way to Go Before They Work Like the Real Thing

The predator's distinctive texture is the envy of engineers trying to maximize hydrodynamics

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Can This New A.I. Tool Help Detect Blood Poisoning?

The algorithm scans electronic records and may reduce sepsis deaths, but widespread adoption could be a challenge

The Maka Niu, a low-cost, customizable deep-sea observing tool is currently undergoing testing around the world, including at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts.

This Low-Cost Device Could Make the Deep Sea Accessible to Everyone

The inexpensive Maka Niu collects video and data at depths more than five times greater than trained scuba divers can go

Among the eight exhibitions opening October 14, 2022, is "The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age," featuring the museum's iconic 1903 Wright Flyer.

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

Follow the October reopening of America’s most-visited museum with exclusive coverage from Smithsonian magazine

The project started eight years ago, when artists Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott had no words to describe the anxiety they were experiencing over California’s drought.

Art Meets Science

How Two California Artists Can Help Personalize Your Eco-Grief

Alicia Escott and Heidi Quante founded the Bureau of Linguistical Reality to create words to help describe people's feelings about climate change

Six years after Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the first airplane in 1903, the Army purchased the Wright Military Flyer for $30,000.

After the Wright Brothers Took Flight, They Built the World's First Military Airplane

The 1909 Military Flyer is the centerpiece of the "Early Flight" exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum

A bus being treated with ultraviolet light in Shanghai, China. Although types of UV light are already in use to decontaminate vehicles and indoor spaces, the wavelengths used are dangerous to people. Researchers hope that wavelengths of far-UVC light can be used harmlessly when people are present.

Covid-19

Could UV Light Reduce the Spread of Covid-19 in Indoor Spaces?

Some wavelengths of light in a range called far-UVC kill microbes in experiments and appear to be harmless to people

The Quadcopter Mines Detector uses a metal detector to find land mines as it flies above them.

A Ukrainian Teenager Invents a Drone That Can Detect Land Mines

Seventeen-year-old Igor Klymenko worked on his invention while sheltering in a basement from Russian attacks

Market research firm Fact.MR estimated that global nonalcoholic wine sales reached $1.6 billion in 2021 and will double in the next decade.

The Science Behind Nonalcoholic Wine

Drinking habits are changing, and vintners are exceeding tasters' expectations with new options stripped of their alcohol

The Bell X-1, a miracle of form and function.

How the Bell X-1 Ushered in the Supersonic Age

The speeding-bullet design propelled Chuck Yeager into history

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The Remarkable Effort to Locate America's Lost Patents

An 1836 blaze destroyed thousands of records that catalogued the young nation's ingenuity, but recent discoveries indicate that originals may still exist

The data, says the exhibition director Rachel Goslins, offers "a potential roadmap for anyone seeking to be inspired, as well as to inspire hope and action." (Above: the two-story interactive me + you, by the New York artist and architect Suchi Reddy, incorporated the latest in artificial intellegence analysis.)

What It Will Take to Inspire Hope for a Better Tomorrow

Visitor data from the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition provides a road map for how to navigate the world ahead

Photo of the day

During the whale season in Mayotte, France, a male humpback whale tries to get a female's attention using jumps and songs. Escort Jump