January 2014

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Hot for Tamales

Our intrepid reporter heads back to the Mississippi Delta in search of his favorite food—and the title of tamale-eating champ

Bao Bao

Ready For Her Close-Up

Take an exclusive backstage tour of the National Zoo and meet Bao Bao, the newest giant panda star

Ancestor's Trail

Time Travelers: Walking the Ancestor’s Trail

On a wild hike inspired by famed evolutionist Richard Dawkins, every step promises a strange encounter with the origins of species


Tales from the Pit

An amazing abundance of fossils in a bygone lake in Germany hints at the debt humans owe to animals that died out 48 million years ago

church of Sant’Ignazio

The Venus Fixers

As Allied Forces fought the Nazis for control of Europe, an unlikely unit of American and British art experts waged a shadow campaign

JFK Christmas card

Christmas Requiem

A rare White House card from 1963 evokes one of the nation’s darkest holiday seasons


Barbarians at the Gates

When jihadists overran Timbuktu last year, residents mounted a secret operation to evacuate the town’s irreplaceable medieval manuscripts


From the Editor

From the Editor

Letters to the Editor


From the Castle

From the Castle



The collision of our galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy is billions of years away, but it’s never too early to wonder what will happen


Grounded But Still Flying

These grounded planes in the Congo have captured the imagination of these children


The Rise of Women?

The game show offers clues about how the annoying tic got its start


The End of…You

New psychological research considers whether you are ever really comfortable with your own taste

Around the Mall

Once Bitten…

A young scientist in Panama devises a novel way to study ticks and disease

Around the Mall

Ask Smithsonian

Airplanes flying upside down, the earliest music and more answers from our experts

Fast Forward

Fast Forward

The outside of the museum is almost done, but it’s the content inside that is raising concerns