New Research at Smithsonian

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

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

"I began to wonder," says Smithsonian researcher Dolores Piperno, who studies the ancestor of the corn plant, "what did the plants actually look like between 10,000 and 13,000 years ago? Did they look the same?"

To Decode the Mystery of Corn, Smithsonian Scientists Recreate Earth as it Was 10,000 Years Ago

As part of a groundbreaking study, researchers built a greenhouse "time machine"

Barro Colorado Island, on the Panama Canal, is home to at least 74 bat species. A group of German researchers is studying them all to understand the spread of diseases.

A Night in the Forest Capturing Bats

Our intrepid reporter joins tropical bat researchers in the field one night and gains some appreciation for their fangs

A computer simulation of how the Hope Diamond likely appeared when it was owned by King Louis XIV of France. The sunburst inside the stone results from specially-cut facets on its back, which produce a translucent area that conveys the color of the diamond's gold mounting.

New Research

The Hope Diamond Was Once a Symbol for Louis XIV, the Sun King

New research indicates that the stone was once specially cut to produce an image of a sun when mounted on a gold background

A fringe-lipped bat bits into a túngara frog.

New Research

Crazy Stupid Love: The Frog With a Mating Call That Also Attracts Predators

The sound and water ripples produced by the túngara frog's mating call are picked up by predatory bats

This hive of the stingless honey-making bee Melipona triplaridis is one of a handful of tropical hives bee expert David Roubik keeps at his home in Panama City. Note the waffle-like honeycomb in the background

Smithsonian's Bee Man Delivers Up Some Advice for Dealing with Colony Collapse Disorder

David Roubik, who pioneered the field of tropical bee studies, says what will save them is a better understanding of their natural state

The immense emptiness of Mars' Meridiani Plains, taken by the Opportunity Rover during the month it was stuck in a sand rippled dubbed Purgatory. Full size version.

After Ten Years on Mars, Here Are the Most Beautiful Photos Taken by the Rovers

Over the last decade, Spirit and Opportunity captured stunning photos of rocks, dunes and vistas

“You have to consider...interactions between species” in a community, says Helen Esser, right.

Does Chopping Down Forests Spread Diseases?

A young scientist in Panama devises a novel way to study ticks and disease


Watch A 1,400-Pound Right Whale Skull Arrive At the Smithsonian

A rare specimen from an endangered species is donated to the Natural History Museum's collections


This Could Be the Oldest Flowering Plant Ever Found in North America

A new look at Smithsonian's fossil collection turned up a remarkably ancient flowering plant—scientists think it's at least 115 million years old

Fishing net at Alaska’s Gore Point

Art Meets Science

Artists Join Scientists on an Expedition to Collect Marine Debris

Now, they are creating beautiful works from the trash they gathered on the 450-nautical-mile journey in the Gulf of Alaska


Watch: The World’s 3D Experts Converge at the Smithsonian X 3D Conference

At the Smithsonian X 3D Conference, pioneers in 3D scanning and printing technology discuss how digitization will shape the future of the Smithsonian


These New 3D Models Put the Smithsonian’s Most Renowned Items in Your Hands

Models of the Wright Flyer, the Wooly Mammoth and 19 other items are available in a new web-based viewer and printable in 3D

Testing shows that a 46 million-year-old fossilized mosquito, found in Montana, contains the blood of an unknown ancient creature.

A Fossilized Blood-Engorged Mosquito Is Found For the First Time Ever

Testing shows that a 46 million-year-old fossilized mosquito, found by amateur fossil hunters in Montana, contains the blood of an unknown ancient creature

One-year-old cubs play at the nursery in Bifengxia, China

A Zoo Panda Keeper on His Trip to China and Why Mei Xiang is a Great Mom

Panda keeper Juan Rodriguez opens up about Mei Xiang's first days with her new cub, as well as a recent trip to a partner panda facility in China


Not Too Hot and Not Too Cold, These Goldilocks Planets are Just Right

At the Air and Space Museum, a new sculpture debuts, showing all of the stars with orbiting "Goldilocks planets," those that could sustain life

Anthropologist Bruno Frohlich with a 1920 Czech viola at the National Museum of Natural History.

Scanning a Stradivarius

Medical 3-D imaging makes it possible to study the world's greatest stringed instruments – and uncover the secrets of its makers

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