Ingenuity Awards

"Thanks to her,” John Frederick Nims writes in his love poem to gravity, “All’s gala in the galaxy.” Such a deep appreciation for gravity’s wonderful predictability is, just by chance, a recurring theme of this year’s Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards. Jeff Bezos is defying gravity with his spaceflight company’s reusable rocket ships. The scientists behind the stupendous LIGO instrument detected, for the first time ever, the whisper of a gravitational wave from the far reaches of the universe. And the rock band OK Go’s lighthearted nature was never so clear as in its topsy-turvy, low-gravity video. Those musical magicians, like all the American Ingenuity Award winners, dazzle us with their eagerness to break boundaries. And they make it look like fun.

Read about this year's winners below and watch the livestream of the Ingenuity Awards on December 8 at 8 pm on our Facebook page.



Performing Arts

Visual Arts


Life Sciences

Physical Sciences

Social Progress

Youth Achievement

Photo credits: Jeff Bezos/John Keatley; Sarah Parcak/Melissa Golden/Satellite image courtesy of Sarah Parcak; Aziz Ansari/Landon Nordeman; David Lynch/Brinson + Banks; Anthony Atala/Alex Boerner; Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish/Brinson + Banks; Marc Edwards and LeeAnne Walters/Tobias Hutzler; Christopher Gray/Jonathan Barkat


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