Lemelson Center for Invention and Innovation

One reader wonders why men’s bicycles have crossbars but not women’s.


 

Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

Scholars say that Afrocentric notions of invention have often emphasized serving the needs of the community, social justice and artistic self-expression, such as the unpatented innovations of DJ Grandmaster Flash, who reimagined turntables and mixers as musical instruments and developed techniques like “scratching” that defined rap and hip- hop music.
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Tearing Down the Barriers for Black Inventors Begins With Honoring Their Historic Breakthroughs

Smithsonian’s Eric S. Hintz, a historian of invention, details how scholars are envisioning a more inclusive ecosystem for the innovators of tomorrow

Elon Musk, after securing a $2.9 billion NASA contract for SpaceX, recently hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

The Return of America's Celebrity Inventor

In a new book, Smithsonian historian Eric S. Hintz traces the rise and fall, and rise again, of the maverick inventor

Dozens of Smithsonian Institution professionals share their favorite reads from this year.

The Best Books of 2021

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2021

The writings of many fine authors support the research and ambitious undertakings of an Institution rising to the challenges ahead

Team USA Stamps

Smithsonian Voices

The Science Behind a Faster, Higher, Stronger Team U.S.A.

The unsung heroes behind the Summer Olympics are the scientists and engineers whose inventions and innovations help athletes

Documents from the Smithsonian's "Jogbra, Inc. Collection" include the company's marketing and advertising materials (above).

How the First Sports Bra Got Its Stabilizing Start

It all began when three frustrated women sought the no-bounce zone

A single counterfeit component in the supply chain is all it takes to turn a fine-tuned aircraft launching system from an asset to a safety hazard.

How Nanoscale 'Signatures' Could Keep Counterfeit Parts Out of Military Equipment

Navy scientist Alison Smith will describe her novel authentication system at Smithsonian's Military Invention Day

The Italian poster was created for Lamarr's 1946 World War II film, I Conspiratori (The Conspirators). Her image reflects the allure that led to her being called the “most beautiful woman in the world.”

Ingenious Women

Thank This World War II-Era Film Star for Your Wi-Fi

As the National Portrait Gallery acquires a film poster of Hedy Lamarr, it’s worth reflecting on her double life as an actress and a pioneering inventor

Ingenious Women

Meet the Female Inventor Behind Mass-Market Paper Bags

A self-taught engineer, Margaret Knight bagged a valuable patent, at a time when few women held intellectual property

Clean and compelling, Spacewar! pitted two player-controlled ships against one another and rewarded superior strategists. The PDP-1 lacked the memory to accommodate AI opponents.

How the First Popular Video Game Kicked Off Generations of Virtual Adventure

A simple contest of sci-fi strategy, ‘Spacewar!’ ushered in what is now a 140 billion dollar industry

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s New York Times Bestseller introduces young readers to impactful black inventors and innovators.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Travels from Court to Classroom to Highlight History of African-American Inventors

The NBA all-star says he hopes young students realize the power and influence they can achieve in STEM-related fields

"We saw kids who created hands that had solid, non-moving opposable joints," says Tim Pula (left) from the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation .

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The Next Generation of Military Prosthetics Is Breaking New Ground

At the Smithsonian’s Military Invention Day, visitors experienced how military innovation is helping society

A low-cost drone built by marines

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Giving Marines the Tools to Build Drones on the Battlefield

Through a program called Marine Makers, they're learning how to build devices, and to be more innovative thinkers

Schwarzkopf's helmet, a PASGT, represents "how technology and innovation work together in the field of ground-forces protection,” says Frank Blazich, Jr., the Smithsonian's curator of modern military forces.

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How the Military Helmet Evolved From a Hazard to a Bullet Shield

With the development of Kevlar and advanced industrial design, soldiers are now better protected from traumatic brain injury

The DF-24 camera, invented in 1932, is one of several that were used by cinematographer Hal Rosson to film the  Wizard of Oz.

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Without This Camera, the Emerald City Would Have Been the Color of Mud

That dramatic Dorothy in Oz moment was brought to you in living color by the DF-24 Beam Splitter

A 1959 exhibition of the first video game "Tennis For Two," designed physicist William Higinbotham at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958.

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The Pioneers of Video Game Technology Are About to Become the Stuff of History

The American History Museum's Lemelson Center will record 20 oral histories from early video game innovators

The Innovative Spirit

The Smithsonian’s Innovation Festival Demystifies the Invention Process

Inventors of a number of new technologies shared their stories at a two-day event at the National Museum of American History

The Innovative Spirit

The Smithsonian Spotlights American Invention at This Weekend’s Innovation Festival

Universities, federal agencies, companies and independent inventors will give visitors a glimpse of the future

Activities are designed with 6 to 12-year olds in mind, and presented as open-ended questions focused on themes that rotate throughout the year.

Inspiring Invention the MacGyver Way

Visitors to the Smithsonian's new Spark!Lab are challenged to solve problems with ingenuity and a pile of off-the-shelf items

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The Innovative Spirit

Teenage Inventor Alexis Lewis Thinks That Kids Have the Solutions to the World's Problems

With a patent to her name and more likely on the way, the 15-year-old has made it her mission to inspire young innovators

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