December 2012

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Light & Magic

The Oscar nominee for Best Director transformed filmmaking as he assembled a new myth out of Hurricane Katrina

Pardis Sabeti

Natural Selection

The recipient of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for natural sciences blazed a new view of how to treat infectious diseases via genetics


New Life

Bryan Stevenson, the winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in social justice, has taken his fight all the way to the Supreme Court

Only a sophomore in high school, Jack Andraka may have invented a new test for a deadly form of cancer.

The Prodigy

A high school sophomore won the youth achievement Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for inventing a new method to detect a lethal cancer


Rocket Science

The winner of the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award for technology hopes to launch a revolution with his spaceship and electric car


Beyond Jazz

The innovative bassist and winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for performing arts is taking jazz to a whole new place

Jim Anderson

Solar Flair

James Anderson, the winner of a Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, has discovered the alarming link between climate change and ozone loss


Mapping the Past

Anne Kelly Knowles, the winner of Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards, uses GIS technology to change our view of history


Class Uprising

Sebastian Thrun, winner of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for education takes is redefining the modern classroom


The Gonzo Neurologist

The neurologist’s latest investigations of the mind explore the mystery of hallucinations – including his own

Dr. NakaMats

The Father of Invention

Meet the most famous inventor you’ve never heard of – whose greatest invention may be himself


Dream Machine

Visionary inventor
 Preston Tucker risked everything when he saw his 1948 automobile as a vehicle for change




From the Editor

From the Editor

Letters to the Editor


From the Castle

From the Castle



From the classical era to modern music, flames have lent a spark to some of the greatest tunes of all time


Feel the Burn

The more talkative half of the famed magic duo says that even for professionals, this magic act is a tough act to swallow


Fire Unbound

Combustion experiments conducted in zero gravity yield surprising results


Smoke Alarm

Pollutants from crude stoves are responsible for many deaths – a D.C.-based NGO has a solution

Sculpting with Fire

Meet the artist who burns her creations to amazing effect


Spark of Genius

New evidence suggests that fire may have influenced the evolution of the human mind

Fast Forward

Fast Forward