January/February 2020

Subscribe magazine covers


QuadraIsland_Social Media

The Fertile Shore

Surprising new clues point to the arrival taking place thousands of years earlier than previously believed

Streptomyces bacteria Social Media

Nature's Pharmacy

An ancient legend could provide a new weapon in the fight against deadly bacteria

Amazon highway Social Media Opener

The Road to Ruin?

Brazil’s plan to develop a lonesome track in the heart of the rainforest poses a threat the whole world may someday have to overcome

Scales and couch diptych Opener

The Charlatan Will See You Now

A notorious quack peddled cures at an Arkansas resort in the 1930s. Nowadays the con game is all for show

b-17s social

The Navigator

The impact of one heroic flight would take decades to reconcile

Blue Niger Mountains_Social Media

Forgotten Desert

A photojournalist journeys to the Sahara-Sahel desert of remote northern Africa to catalogue the state of emergency on the ground



Readers respond to our stories on crosswords, Fallingwater, and the Ingenuity Awards recipients



Maya Angelou’s breakthrough memoir forever changed American literature and helped carve a new space for black self-expression


Flower Power

These painters, the focus of a new exhibition at the Whitney, put their own stamp on 20th-century art


Tracing the Enslaved

The online resource will offer vital details about the toll wrought on the enslaved


"Freedom or Death!"

Earlier this year, a group of organizers led by a daring performance artist donned 19th-century clothes and recreated the 1811 revolt


Hey, Bartender

A century after Prohibition, we uncork a history of the nation’s shifting relationship with booze


Made in Alaska

Made in Alaska and fashioned to protect against snow glare, the eyewear was carved from whale baleen circa 1890


The Veneration Gap

Older people have groused about younger people for millennia. Now we know why

Ask Smithsonian

You've got question. We've got experts