August 2010

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The Obamas worship at African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.


We salute the basic human urge to remember the future

Northeast Pacific sea nettles Monterey Bay Aquarium

The New King of the Sea

As the world's oceans are degraded, will they be dominated by jellyfish?

Nancy Knowlton marine biologist

Marine Advisory

Scientists say the outlook for the world's oceans is bleak—unless we stop overfishing and reduce air and water pollution

Shai Agassi

Charging Ahead

An entrepreneur hits the road with a new approach for an all-electric car that overcomes its biggest shortcoming

Richard Branson

Q and A: Richard Branson

The billionaire entertainment mogul talks about the future of transportation and clean energy

Salt tolerant trees

Buying Time

For scientists in a remote corner of coastal North Carolina, ignoring global warming is not an option


Meet the Species

From old-world primates to patch-nosed salamanders, new creatures are being discovered every day

Living skyscraper

Farms Go to Town

Grow fruits and vegetables in city towers? Advocates give a green thumbs up

President Barack Obama at White House Correspondents Dinner

Why I'm Optimistic

Looking ahead to the next 40 years, President Obama writes about our nature as Americans to dream big and solve problems

Population growth places the United States in a radically different position from that of Russia, Japan and Europe.

Ready, Set, Grow

The United States population will expand by 100 million over the next 40 years. Is this a reason to worry?

George Friedman

Q and A: George Friedman

The geopolitical scientist predicts which nations will be fighting for world power in 2050

Rosamond Naylor

Q and A: Rosamond Naylor

The economist discusses the stresses that climate change and a greater world population will have on our food supply

Crops to feed the hungry

New Fields

Food security experts say these crops, if grown more widely, could help feed the hungry

Japan aged population

The Age of Peace

Maturing populations may mean a less violent future for many societies torn by internal conflict

Bonnie Bassler

Listening to Bacteria

By studying microbial communications, Bonnie Bassler has come up with new ways to treat disease

Melinda French Gates

Q and A: Melinda French Gates

The co-chair of the world's largest philanthropy talks about what can be done to improve global health and poverty

Regeneration ear

Organs Made to Order

It won't be long before surgeons routinely install replacement body parts created in the laboratory

Titan moon

Next in Space

Probes and landers sent into the final frontier will bring us closer to answering cosmic mysteries

Rik Hill

Masters of Disaster

Astronomers are determined to protect human beings from inanimate outer space invaders

Melvin Konner

Q and A: Melvin Konner

The anthropologist and physician talks about how our understanding of child development will change

Doug Aitken

Interaction and Adventure

The director of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum predicts how art will engage us as never before

Rita Dove

Q and A: Rita Dove

The Pulitzer-Prize winning poet discusses how new technologies will affect the creative process

Tod Machover Rock Band

­­Q and A: Tod Machover

The inventor and MIT professor talks about where music and technology will intersect over the course of the next 40 years

Adolf Hitler and his deputy Rudolf Hess

The Future of History

Declassified records and journals to be released in coming decades will shed new light on pivotal 20th-century figures and events

James Cameron Avatar

Q and A: James Cameron

The director of Avatar and Terminator talks about future sequels, 3-D television and Hollywood in 2050

Comedian George Lopez

Q and A: George Lopez

The late-night talk show host discusses how America's changing demographics will affect what makes people laugh

Free Fall Emily Schiffer

Powwows and Karaoke

Filmmaker Chris Eyre says Native pride will embolden the next generation of first Americans

Sabhia Al Khemir

Q and A: Sabiha Al Khemir

The museum curator and author predicts that relations between the United States and the Muslim world will improve

Carl Hiassen

Q and A: Carl Hiaasen

The satirist talks about the "curve of human weirdness" and the need for public outrage in the political arena

Polymer fronds and spheres

The Genius of Small Things

Harvard professor and scientific genius George Whitesides believes that nanotechnology will change medicine as we know it

Angela Belcher chemist at MIT

Invisible Engineers

Chemist Angela Belcher looks to manufacture high technology out of viruses

Laurie Anderson

Q and A: Laurie Anderson

The multi-faceted artist sees a future in which artists change our auditory experiences

contact lense with computer screen

Power From the People

Energy harvested from our bodies will make possible mind-boggling gadgetry

Solar panels Solucar facility

Shining Example

Solar technologies being pioneered in Spain show even greater promise for the United States

Google Vinton Cerf

Vinton Cerf

Google’s “Chief Internet Evangelist” talks about the direction of online connectivity and communication

iPad with Smithsonian magazine first cover

From Print to Pixel

As digital screens proliferate and people move from print to pixel, how will the act of reading change?


From the Editor

Curveballs at the Un-Magazine

From the first issue 40 years ago, Smithsonian has blazed its own path through the media landscape



Indelible Images


The 1970 photograph became an instant environmental classic, but its subject has remained nameless until now

Around the Mall

Vaulting Into the Future

An MIT professor shows how ancient architecture can be the basis for a more sustainable future

From the Castle

Forward Thinking

The Smithsonian enters a new era of expansion—on the Web


Q and A: Nina Simon

The author helps museums create systems in which visitors participate in exhibition design

What's Up

What's Up

The Last Page

Married, With Glitches

Will human-robot interactions be undone by technical difficulties?