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December 2013

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Features

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Mars Attack!

Adam Steltzner’s ingenious ideas were crucial to the most spectacular space mission of our time

St. Vincent

Notes from the Edge

The singer-composer brings new sophistication to pop composition, conjuring ethereal dreamscapes from her suburban roots

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Voices Carry

The Voice of Witness project spearheaded by Dave Eggers and Mimi Lok gives the victims of crisis a megaphone

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Quantum Mechanic

Teenager Saumil Bandyopadhyay has harnessed cutting-edge physics to upend industries ranging from automobiles to astronomy

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Warp Factor

John Rogers, a revolutionary materials scientist, is pushing the boundaries of the medical world

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Visualizing Ben

Historian Caroline Winterer’s analysis of Franklin’s letters applies big data to big history

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Climb Higher

Caroline Hoxby and her team of researchers are revolutionizing the way the best colleges reach out to talented low-income students

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Escape Artist

The artist uses video, music, mirrors, railroad cars, even entire buildings to create works that make every viewer a participant

Michael Skinner

Code Breaker

Biologist Michael Skinner has enraged the chemical community and shocked his peers with his breakthrough research

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Can You Hear Me Now?

One of the earliest examples of ingenuity in the Western Hemisphere is composed of gourds and twine

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Dreaming of Shakespeare

For the renowned director of the screen and stage, the Bard is a fantasy and a nightmare

Departments

Contributors

Discussion

Phenomena

Growth

A State of Equinimity

Photographer Tim Flach sees similarities between baby equines and humans

Phenomena

Look Out Below

Move over Morlocks, humans are headed to your neighborhood

Phenomena

How to Grow a Robot

Or to put it a nicer way, researchers have found a way for robots to grow on their own

Phenomena

Invasion!

Longer seasons and warmer weather have combined to be a game-changer in the plant wars

Phenomena

Ice Maker

New research shows that the explanation for the counterintuitive growth of sea ice near the South Pole can be found blowing in the wind

Around the Mall

U.S.A.-Made

A voluminous new exhibition highlights Latino art as American art

Around the Mall

Ask Smithsonian

You asked, we answered

Dive into Jen Lewin's Interactive Light Pool

"The Pool" invites visitors to create dazzling light displays by jumping across 100 glowing pads