May 2014

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Listening to the Big Bang

Just-reported ripples in space may open a window on the very beginning of the universe


The White Veil

In one of his final interviews, the award-winning writer talks about what inspired him to travel to the farthest reaches of the globe


Brave New Words

The literary genre isn’t meant to predict the future, but implausible ideas that fire inventors’ imaginations often, amazingly, come true


Mind Craft

The most futuristic medical treatment ever imagined is now a reality

Patrick Stewart

Command Performance

The actor whose leading roles in “Star Trek” and X-Men have taken him into the far future, reflects on where present-day society is headed


Hot Enough For You?

As global warming makes sizzling temperatures more common, will human beings be able to keep their cool? New research suggests not

Café Future

A new poem by David Yezzi

child robot science fiction poll

Science Friction

What are they most fearful of? What are they most optimistic about?


Signs of Life

Planetary scientist Sara Seager has turned tragedy into tenacity in her search for new Earths among the stars


Almost Human

With its stubby cylindrical body and playful whistles and beeps, the lovable Star Wars’ robot R2-D2 is just the right mix of man and machine


Inventing the Real McCoy

The fantastic tricorder device that “Bones” used to scan aliens on “Star Trek” is nearly at hand—in your cellphone

The Pay Phone

A new poem by Joshua Mehigan


Letters to the Editor


From our readers

From the Editor

From the Editor

From the Editor



Humans have damaged the world’s forests, but not irreparably


Flip Art

A painter looks at her canvas from a new perspective


Pole Reversal

On the University of Maryland campus, a giant whirligig tries to predict the planet’s next big flip



PTSD treatments could soon extend beyond therapy

Around the Mall

This Just In

After a two-year run on Broadway, the web-slinging stage show's iconic superhero costume is heading to the Smithsonian.

Around the Mall

Less Wooden

The painter gave his sibling Nan a makeover in his alluring portrait of her

Around the Mall

Ask Smithsonian

You asked, we answered

Fast Forward

Fast Forward

NASA prepares to send humans into deep space