June 2013

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Food evolution

The Mind on Fire

A million or so years ago, the amazing evolution of the human brain was sparked by a breakthrough that people everywhere still enjoy every day: cooking


Burning Desire

Chiliheads crave the heat that hurts so good, a pleasure-pain riddle science is solving. But nothing compares to the gutwrenching agony of the legendary superhot that spices life in remote India

Dinner in Scandinavia

10 Epiphanies

Sometimes a meal is just a meal. Other times, a single bite can change everything

Space food

Rocket Fuel

For astronauts headed to the moon, NASA dreamed up meals that tried to mimic earth food

Fried chicken and bananas

Accounting for Taste

You know what foods you like. But why? That’s always been one of the toughest questions in perception research. Now psychologists and others, from Ivy League labs to the U.S. Army, are serving up fresh answers

Dwight Henry

Yeasts of the Southern Wild

A star baker in New Orleans, the city of king cake and buttermilk drops, is about to deliver his sweet treats to Harlem


A new poem by Billy Collins

Eric and Ryan Berley

Two Kids in a Candy Store

How Philadelphia confectioners Eric and Ryan Berley are giving new life to America’s oldest sweet shop

Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl

The American Table

What’s it like to have dinner with food writers Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl as they discuss American food culture? Something like this. (Well, without the food.)

Lisa Randall

Welcome to the Dark Side

A cosmologist unveils her latest theories on the invisible universe, extra dimensions and human consciousness

Zahi Hawass

Pyramid Scheme

The long-reigning king of Egyptian antiquities has been forced into exile—but he’s plotting a return




From the Editor

From the Editor

From the Editor

From the Castle

From the Castle

Secretary Clough explains how the Zoo’s chefs prepare food for 400 different species

Letters to the Editor





We build our bodies with water, but build our homes and cities to resist it


A fluid approach to the body in motion


Safe Harbor

To cope with a new round of sea level rise, the Dutch make room for the water.


What Lies Beneath

In a lake under Antarctica’s ice, a stunning discovery: life


Scarce Tactics

Killings in Iraq. Fighting in Syria. Is a lack of water to blame?


Fountain of Lies

Florida celebrates a hunt for healing waters that never even happened



A history of America’s ’36 Olympic rowers. Plus: lessons of King Tut, the math of life and astronauts’ wives

Around the Mall

An Ark on Ice

A new tissue collection will save millions of DNA samples for deciphering

Around the Mall


Take a look back at an interview with Sir Edmund Hillary 60 years after he became the first man to summit Mount Everest

Around the Mall

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What's new at the Smithsonian in June

Fast Forward

A Taste of the Future