American Ingenuity Awards

This Wildly Creative Art Project Transformed an Ugly Interstate Into a 2,400-Mile-Long Visual Masterpiece

Zoe Crosher and Shamim Momin are behind the effort to turn the classic American eyesore into true art

Theaster Gates' Chicago studio includes a formal gallery and a wood shop.

How Theaster Gates Is Revitalizing Chicago's South Side, One Vacant Building at a Time

The artist's creative approach to bringing new life to a crumbling neighborhood offers hope for America's beleaguered cities

The Young Inventor Who Is a "Minder" of a Business of Her Own

At age 11, Lilianna Zyszkowski designed a new life-saving device to help people track their medication. That was just the beginning

Smile, Frown, Grimace and Grin — Your Facial Expression Is the Next Frontier in Big Data

Engineer Rana el Kaliouby is set to change the way we interact with our devices—and each other

The New Yorker Editor Who Became a Comic Book Hero

The amazing tale of a determined art director who harnessed the powers of the greatest illustrators around the world to blow kids' minds

Left: Alan Stern holds a 2005 Hubble image of the Pluto system on January 19, 2006, two hours after the successful launch of the New Horizons probe. Right: A triumphant Stern holds a full-frame image of Pluto, taken just hours before the New Horizons probe reached its closest point to Pluto.

How Alan Stern Brought Pluto to Earth

The scientist behind NASA's New Horizons mission gave cheering earthlings their first close-up view of the dwarf planet

Bill Hader and Fred Armisen share a laugh at the Broadway Video offices in Beverly Hills, CA, surrounded by the tools of their trade for their new series, Documentary Now.

Why Bill Hader and Fred Armisen Are Parodying Documentaries in Their Latest, Ingenious Project

The "SNL" veterans behind the sly new series "Documentary Now" add a layer of authenticity to the art of sending up nonfiction films


The 2015 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards

This year's recipients range from a Broadway visionary to an astrophysics genius

The 2014 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award Winners

These 10 innovators in science, history, society and the arts are a testament to the imagination and hard work that define the nation's spirit

How One Physicist’s Pursuit of the Cosmos Took Off in Antarctica

Francis Halzen’s amazing experiment heralds the beginning of a new era in astronomy

The Amazing Results When You Give a Prison Inmate a Liberal Arts Education

Prison reform activist Max Kenner champions the transformative power of a college degree for inmates nationwide

Could This Be the Answer to the Tech World’s Diversity Problem?

Kimberly Bryant hopes to crack the code with her organization that teaches young girls of color how to program

When Dazzling Art Transforms the Cityscape

Janet Echelman’s sky-high sculptures, created from miles of fiber, cast a magical spell over urban spaces

How Palmer Luckey Created Oculus Rift

The young visionary dreamed up a homemade headset that may transform everything from gaming to medical treatment to engineering—and beyond

Rosanne Cash on Discovering New Artistic Terrain

The singer-songwriter looked to her Southern ancestors to come up with a different kind of concept album

Coming to Terms With One of America’s Greatest Natural Disasters

Documentary filmmaker Bill Morrison plunges us into the Great Flood of 1927

Is This the Future of Robotic Legs?

Hugh Herr’s bionic limbs have already revolutionized life for amputees (including himself). Now he’s envisioning new capabilities for everyone else

Meet the Two Scientists Who Implanted a False Memory Into a Mouse

In a neuroscience breakthrough, the duo pioneered a real-life version of <i>Inception</i>


Upending the Narrative of the Great Man of History

The Voice of Witness project spearheaded by Dave Eggers and Mimi Lok gives the victims of crisis a megaphone

The 2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award Winners

We recognize nine of the past year's shining achievements and the innovators behind them

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