Technology

Consumer products made from carbon capture can't undo the damage we’ve done to our planet—but each of them exists thanks to innovations that could. 

Little Luxuries Made With Captured Pollution Hint at Big Frontiers in Climate Science

Entrepreneurs are using jewelry, fragrances and clothing to demonstrate what’s possible with repurposed carbon—and environmentalists have questions

Across the United States, around 70 percent of coal travels by rail.

Using A.I. to Track Air Pollution From Open-Top Coal Trains

Scientists in California are working with communities—and a suite of tools—to better monitor air quality

Sholes and Glidden gussied up an early model with floral ornaments, in imitation of sewing machines.

Where Did the QWERTY Keyboard Come From?

From laptops to iPhones, the first successful typewriter’s keyboard layout lives on

One ancient graffiti artist carved this creature at the Philae temple complex—most likely a horse.

Archaeologists Are Using Modern Tools to Learn About Visitors to an Ancient Egyptian Temple

Pilgrims who left behind ancient graffiti are the subject of new research in the middle of the Nile

Installation photography of Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023.

Video Artists Set the American Experience to Music

The Smithsonian American Art Museum brings its latest time-based media art to the widest possible audience, including the deaf and hearing impaired

To recreate the face of a pregnant Egyptian woman, Hew Morrison first digitally mapped her skull, then added muscles and soft tissues—and, finally, the most subjective element: the eyes.

Art Meets Science

How One Forensic Artist Brings the Dead to Life

Using DNA analysis and historic records, his work allows us to look ancient humans in the eye

Designed in 1906, Glenn Curtiss' first V-8 motorcycle required a longer, sturdier frame than any previous bike to support the massive weight of the engine.

A Century Ago, Glenn Curtiss Was the 'Fastest Man on Earth'

Before he changed aviation forever, the daredevil achieved an unparalleled speed record on land

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There's More to That

Deep-Sea Tourism or Deep-Sea Science?

Two chroniclers of explorers, including one who profiled OceanGate’s Stockton Rush, reflect on what visiting the depths of the ocean can—and can’t—teach us

One of the most popular species identification tools is iNaturalist. Since its creation in 2008, the app has logged more than 145 million observations from around the world.

The Race to Develop Artificial Intelligence That Can Identify Every Species on the Planet

Scientists are building machine-learning-powered software that can recognize a species based solely on a cellphone picture

Abigail Previlon, 13, takes part in online learning at home on October 28, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. At the time, Stamford Public Schools was using a hybrid educational model due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What the Covid-19 Pandemic Revealed About Remote School

The unplanned experiment provided clear lessons on the value—and limitations—of online learning. Are educators listening?

The pop-top is a patently American invention.

How Popping Open a Can Became the Sound of Summer

More than 60 years ago, an unfortunate picnic set Ohioan Ermal C. Fraze on a path to inventing the first pop-top tab opener for canned beverages

"Cellphone: Unseen Connections" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History walks through every aspect of the technology.

How Cellphones Connect Us All

A new Natural History Museum exhibition explores how the devices link us to Earth and to a network of people worldwide involved in their supply chain

Why do chickens have wings if they can’t use them to fly?

Why Are Chickens So Bad at Flying? And More Questions From Our Readers

You’ve got questions. We’ve got experts

Robert W. Bowles of Long Island competes at the first Sunfish World Championship in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in 1970. Bowles placed ninth that year. 

How the Most Popular Sailboat Ever Was Invented

The Sunfish taught millions of Americans to seize the breeze

By recording activity of specific neurons in the brain, researchers aim to pick up signals of intended speech.

The Brain-Computer Interfaces That Could Give Locked-In Patients a Voice

Implanted devices record the brain waves associated with speech and then use computer algorithms to translate the intended messages

Range anxiety is still a major hurdle for prospective EV buyers.

What Will It Take to Charge Electric Vehicles Faster?

To get more EVs on the road, these scientists are working to charge a car in the same time that it takes to fuel up at a gas station

Angie Fogarty tested at least 100 different versions of her sensor before finding the perfect formula.

This 18-Year-Old Developed a Test to Find Out If Your Drink Has Been Spiked

The simple and inexpensive sensor detects the antihistamine in "Benadryl cocktails"

Driver-optional e-tractors promise to increase efficiency while cutting emissions.

Planet Positive

Could Electric Tractors Revolutionize Farming?

The vehicles may change the agricultural landscape by scaling sustainability and increasing efficiency

Engineer Martin Cooper made the world's first cellphone call on April 3, 1973, using a Motorola DynaTAC.

From 'the Brick' to the iPhone, the Cellphone Celebrates 50 Years

As the technology turns 50, science fiction might hint at the cellphone's next chapter

The strategy an animal uses to track a scent depends upon a number of factors, including the animal’s body shape and the amount of turbulence in the odor plume.

Scientists Are Trying to Figure Out How Animals Follow a Scent to Its Source

Uncovering the varied strategies that animals employ could help engineers develop robots that accomplish similar tasks

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