Innovations

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How Science Conquered Diphtheria, the Plague Among Children

It was highly contagious, lethal and mysterious. Then medical experts developed treatments and vaccines, and the affliction disappeared—but not entirely

The National Weather Service Began as a Crowdsourcing Experiment

Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry used an army of volunteers in what would eventually become the nation's weather forecasting operation

ELSA-d is a demonstration device designed to show that space debris removal is possible.

Innovation for Good

Can the World's First Space Sweeper Make a Dent in Orbiting Debris?

A private company has just completed the first successful test of its trash collector

The Original Selfie Craze Was the Mirror

Today’s social media obsession has its roots in the development centuries ago of the reflective material

3D-printed masks made for a New Hampshire hospital amid PPE shortages in March.

Covid-19

Covid-19 Has Designers Reimagining Personal Protective Equipment

The global pandemic has led to a surge in demand for PPE. Inventors have responded—with mixed results.

An artist’s illustration of a black hole “eating” a star.

Big Data is Transforming How Astronomers Make Discoveries

The next game-changer is likely lurking in the data we already have—but it will take scientists years to uncover it

Artist’s representation of “neglected story on Smithsonian.com.”

The Ten Stories You Didn't Read in 2017 But Should Have

From music behind prison bars to a San Francisco building with a dark past, here are the top 10 pieces we published last year that deserve another look

Virginia Tech, whose Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) was instrumental in bringing the festival to fruition, exhibited on Day 1 a cutting-edge robotic fabrication system.

These Collegiate Innovators Are at the Vanguard of Technology and Art

A massive three-day festival spotlights the achievements of the Atlantic Coast Conference

Adams worked with artist Emma Segal to create illustrations that represent the new energy terms. The English translation of the words on this image is: Solar Panels, a flat piece resembling a window/mirror placed on top of a building to collect electricity from the sun to power the house.

Inventing a Vocabulary to Help Inuit People Talk About Climate Change

One team is working with Inuvialuit elders to come up with a renewable energy terminology—and maybe revive a dying language

A harmless toilet plunger really takes the snap out of a snapping turtle.

The Musk Turtle Beer Koozie and Other Household Items We Use for Science

When the going gets tough, creative researchers turn to plastic lizard protectors, monkey loofahs and deer vagina trackers

Four in five adults will experience back pain in their lifetimes,  often from overusing their lower back muscles. A new smart garment aims to help.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

News Brief: Underwear of the Future Could Help Prevent Back Pain

The wearable device reduces strain on the back during lifting or leaning, which can help stop the pain before it starts

A crowd gathers in the "Bird Migration" exhibit at the Steinhardt Museum during the inauguration event.

The Middle East Is a Treasure Trove of Natural Wonders. Now It Has a Museum to Show Them Off

Everything from early human skulls to priceless taxidermy relics will be on display in the ark-shaped museum

Despite being largely forgotten today, Lowell Thomas was a pioneering journalist of the 20th century who reshaped news media.

History of Now

The Forgotten Man Who Transformed Journalism in America

Lowell Thomas was the first host of a TV broadcast news program, and adopted a number of other new technologies to make his mark in the 20th century

These islands in Peru are made by villagers, who form the "land" beneath their houses out of reeds.

Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly: Inca Road

Visit These Floating Peruvian Islands Constructed From Plants

The Uro people who live on Lake Titicaca have been building their own villages by hand for centuries

View of the Castle and the Haupt Garden from Independence Ave.

Smithsonian Announces BIG Plans for Campus Redesign

Led by the innovative vision of Bjarke Ingels, the Smithsonian unveils a 20-year plan for redesigning its south campus

From left to right, panelists Eric Hollinger, Rachel Kyte, Cori Wegener and Melissa Songer discuss ideas for living in the Anthropocene.

Anthropocene

To Live in the Anthropocene, People Need Grounded Hope

A Smithsonian symposium about human impacts on Earth looked past warnings of global doom to discuss the necessary balance of achievable solutions

A mass of insects teems around an outdoor lamp in Brazil.

The Potential Dark Side of Nobel-Winning LEDs: Pest Problems

The white lighting is clean and efficient but also a lot more attractive to flying invertebrates

People take pictures of water gushing from the reservoir of China’s Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydropower station in the world.

Anthropocene

Seven Unexpected Ways We Can Get Energy From Water

It’s not all about giant dams—H2O is a surprisingly common and versatile tool for meeting the world’s energy needs

This year, Smithsonian magazine's festival is themed "Science Meets Science Fiction."

Future Is Here Festival

The Future is (Still) Here: Day Two of Smithsonian's Second Annual Conference

Instead of holding its own global fest this year, Nerd Nite descended on our nation's capital.

Jet pack demonstration at Smithsonian magazine's 'The Future is Here' Festival

Future Is Here Festival

Watch a Man Fly a Jetpack Around D.C.'s Ronald Reagan Building at Smithsonian's 'The Future Is Here' Festival

The conference's first day ended with a bang—or should we say, a blast-off.

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