March 2012

Subscribe magazine covers


The Titanic

Shadow of the Titanic

One hundred years after the ocean liner struck an iceberg and sank, the tragedy still looms large in the popular psyche


Optical Illusion

New research may have found the reason why the ship struck an iceberg: light refraction


They Missed the Boat

The notables who planned to sail on the fateful voyage included a world-famous novelist, a radio pioneer and America’s biggest tycoons


One-Step Wonder

Edwin Land's camera, the SX-70, perfected the art of instant gratification

Billy Collins
From the series Collages
From Falls the Shadow
Plymouth, England
Every Angels Terrifying
Sea lion caves in Florence
her sons illness
White Sands, New Mexico
Women in Kabul
Antarctic penguins




From the Editor

Fateful Encounters

The Titanic and the elusive nature of perception

Letters to the Editor

The Conversation

Readers Respond to the January Issue

From the Secretary

Dream Building


A Wilderness Of Errol

The documentary filmmaker has become America's most surprising and provocative public intellectual


Hive Mind

The world's leading expert on bee behavior discovers the secrets of decision-making in a swarm

Food + Culture

Moveable Feasts

Our new food columnist traces the food truck revolution back to its Los Angeles roots



The renowned author of A Natural History of the Senses visits Florida's Morikami Japanese Gardens to examine the astonishing wealth of human perception

Visualize This

Browse through the winning images that turn scientific exploration into art


Speaking American

After half a century of studying jib-jabbing, linguists have just finished the nation's most ambitious dictionary of regional dialects


Sweat and Tears

Yes, scientists say, your airborne compounds send signals about your moods, your sexual orientation and even your genetic makeup


Why So Blue?

New research into a long-puzzling feature of avian life shows there's more to color than meets the eye


Truth and Beauty

The discovery of a 40,000-year old figurine reignites debate among archaeologists about the origins—and true purpose—of art


Trick of the Eye

The smaller, quieter half of the magician duo Penn & Teller writes about how magicians manipulate the human mind


Say It Loud

This vivid new book charts the dazzling contradictions in the life of the Godfather of Soul

Around the Mall

Inside The Box

For decades, video games have enthralled and inspired, and now they are the subject of a new exhibit that views them as serious works of art

Around the Mall

All Together Now

The motivation behind Quetzal’s music is stirring dreams – and helping build communities

Around the Mall

Seeing Past Twilight

The wildly popular novels and movies depict werewolves as members of the Quileute Indians of Washington State – a new exhibit tells their real story

Around the Mall

Ask Smithsonian

In the latest edition of Ask Smithsonian, we sent your burning questions to the Institution's curators

Around the Mall

Here & Now

Fast Forward

Fast Forward

The 1,080-foot-high Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, opening in April, has also been labeled the "Hotel of Doom"