An Iraqi girl stands on former marshland, drained in the 1990s because of politically motivated water policies.

Is a Lack of Water to Blame for the Conflict in Syria?

A 2006 drought pushed Syrian farmers to migrate to urban centers, setting the stage for massive uprisings

Members of the Lake Whillans drill team lived in yellow tents studding the Antarctic landscape.

Digging for the Secrets Beneath Antarctica

Scientists have found life in the depths beneath the ice

Global sea levels were as much as 400 feet lower than today.

Never Heard of Doggerland? Blame Climate Change From Millennia Ago

Rising waters have forced populations to relocate since the dawn of early man

Water may have come to earth by way of comets and asteroids.

Ask Smithsonian 2017

How Did Water Come to Earth?

It took an out-of-this-world arrival to get that perfect chemical combination for water to fill our planet

Lisa Randall is the first female theoretical physicist tenured at Harvard.

Lisa Randall’s Guide to the Galaxy

The famed cosmologist unveils her latest theories on the invisible universe, extra dimensions and human consciousness

Batang, a female orangutan at the National Zoo, snacks on a pumpkin.

How to Cook Meals for the 2,000 Animals at the National Zoo

Secretary Clough explains how the Zoo’s chefs prepare food for 400 different species

"A magazine issue is in many ways a communal meal as well, a common table we invite you all to gather round." - Michael Caruso, Smithsonian editor in chief.

From the Editor

From the Editor






Daniel James Brown's book juxtaposes the coming together of the Washington crew team against the Nazis' preparations for the Olympics in 1936.

Olympic Rowers, King Tut Lessons and More Books to Read This Month

Also out in June: the math of life and the lives of astronauts’ wives

We are adamant in our likes and perhaps even more adamant in our dislikes. But why?

Why You Like What You Like

Researchers are cooking up experiments to learn what might explain which foods we love and which foods we hate


The latest Smithsonian exhibitions showcase Civil War photography, Buddhist figures and Time magazine cover portraits

PHOTOS: The Mind-Blowing, Floating, Unmanned Scientific Laboratory

Wave Gliders are about to make scientific exploration a lot cheaper and safer


Our Battle Against Extinction, 100 Recipes and More Recent Books Reviewed

Growing up as a poor Astor and the roots of psychiatry


What Happened to the Wizard of Oz Costumes and More Great Questions From our Readers

Apollo 11 souvenirs, Walt Whitman’s politics, and dinosaur DNA were among the subjects you wanted to know more about

Acoustic paintings from the installation "Higher Resonance."

How Do You Make a Painting Out of Sounds?

Jennie C. Jones has the answer. Her first solo museum show opens at the Hirshhorn in May


Life in the City Is Essentially One Giant Math Problem

Experts in the emerging field of quantitative urbanism believe that many aspects of modern cities can be reduced to mathematical formulas

Lego’s new Mindstorms EV3 kit lets users build 17 different robots and program them directly through an “intelligent brick.”

How Lego Is Constructing the Next Generation of Engineers

With programmable robots and student competitions, Lego is making “tinkering with machines cool again”

This wax-and-cardboard disc from 1885 contains a recording of Bell’s voice.

We Had No Idea What Alexander Graham Bell Sounded Like. Until Now

Smithsonian researchers used optical technology to play back the unplayable records

The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine prints ear, nose and bone scaffolds that can be coated with cells to grow body parts.

What Lies Ahead for 3-D Printing?

The new technology promises a factory in every home—and a whole lot more

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