Natural Sciences

Courtney Gallaher’s Women in Science students at Northern Illinois University created quilt blocks representing astrophysicist Margaret J. Geller, biologist Rachel Carson, and mathematician Ada Lovelace.

Inside the Growing Movement to Share Science Through Quilting

The classic medium allows researchers, students and artists to tell stories about science, technology, engineering and math

Presumed self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1512, red chalk on paper

Art Meets Science

Historians Identify 14 Living Relatives of Leonardo da Vinci

An ongoing effort to trace the artist's male lineage may help researchers sequence his genome

Scientists reconstructed a new beetle species in 3-D thanks to X-ray scans of fossilized poop.

New Species of Beetle Found in 230-Million-Year-Old Feces

The insect is older than any amber-encased specimen, and may inspire scientists to look for more insects in fossilized dung

Iran's Lake Urmia, once one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, is vanishing due to climate change.

Innovation for Good

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can't?

A new subgenre of science fiction leans on the expertise of biologists and ecologists to imagine a scientifically plausible future Earth

Smithsonian ecologist Andy Boyce reported the rediscovery and photographed the elusive Bornean subspecies of the Rajah scops owl, Otus brookii brookii, in the mountainous forests of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.

Rare Owl With Bright Orange Eyes Seen for the First Time in More Than 125 Years

The elusive Bornean Rajah scops owl is inspiring scientists and researchers after its brief rediscovery

Covid-19 patients during their weekly vocal lessons as part of ENO Breathe.

Covid-19

How Opera Singing Is Helping Long-Haul Covid-19 Patients Recover

Developed in the United Kingdom, ENO Breathe is a virtual program that rehabilitates patients through the art of song

Female springbok mantises will fight against males who want to mate

Male Mantises Wrestle to Escape Cannibalistic Females

Mating is not so romantic for these insects

An RN administers the Covid-19 vaccine to a nurse at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia.

The Ten Most Significant Science Stories of 2020

From the rapid development of vaccines for Covid-19 to the stunning collection of an asteroid sample, these were the biggest science moments of the year

Projects that harness the public to make observations and report data about the health of our environment are growing. Anyone can join—no PhDs needed.

Innovation for Good

Twenty-Four Ways to Turn Outdoor Passions Into Citizen Science

Heading into the new year, consider collecting scientific data while skiing, hiking, surfing, biking and partaking in other adventures

Encounters with the giant oarfish—the world's largest bony fish—may have inspired sailors to tell tales about fantastical sea serpents.

Virtual Travel

Meet the Real Animals Behind Mermaids, Dragons and Other Mythical Creatures

You can now take a virtual tour of a "Harry Potter"–inspired exhibition exploring the origins of fantastical beings

Many types of mosses live in British Columbia.

Will the Slender-Yoke Moss Be Saved?

In the crush of conservation priorities, scientists grapple with how to help an endangered species with no obvious value

This year's top ten titles explore the cosmos, fear and cleanliness alongside narratives about owls, fish and eels.

The Ten Best Science Books of 2020

New titles explore the mysterious lives of eels, the science of fear and our connections to the stars

Charles Darwin in 1857, photograph by Maull and Fox

Two Darwin Notebooks Quietly Went Missing 20 Years Ago. Were They Stolen?

Staff at Cambridge University Libraries previously assumed that the papers had simply been misplaced in the vast collections

Ken Jennings, known to millions as a game show champion, is also is a fan of Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist with an endless curiosity.

Smithsonian Voices

'Jeopardy!' Champion Ken Jennings on Lessons Learned From Alexander von Humboldt

“I’ll take Alexander von Humboldt for $500, Alex”

How would you calculate the weight of a T. Rex based only on its bones? There's at least two ways to find the answer, experts found.

How to Weigh a Dinosaur

A new study reveals the proper technique to weigh these extinct creatures

Critics argue that moving the bust does little to address more commonly cited complaints, including the repatriation of looted artifacts and a need to diversify curatorial staff.

British Museum Moves Bust of Founder, Who Profited From Slavery

The London institution, which reopened this week, is reckoning with its colonialist history in the wake of global protests against racism

Since late July, Mei Xiang has been sleeping more, eating less, nest-building and body-licking—all signs that she is preparing for a newborn.

Pandamonium

Is There a New Baby Panda Due at the National Zoo?

An ultrasound today revealed that the National Zoo's resident giant panda, Mei Xiang, could be expecting

Guano stains the cliffs of a gannet breeding colony in Shetland

Seabird Poop Is Worth More Than $1 Billion Annually

Scientists put a price tag on guano's global benefits, which range from agricultural fertilizer to coral reef enricher

A clear shard of Roman glass found in northern Jordan. The purple highlights are iridescence caused by weathering.

Ancient Rome's Finest Glass Was Actually Made in Egypt

Researchers used chemical analysis to determine the origins of the empire's crystal-clear glass

Like statues, animals named after controversial historic figures are sparking a conversation about "relics of systemic oppression" in science.

A Bird Named for a Confederate General Sparks Calls for Change

McCown’s longspur has launched a renewed reckoning over the troubling histories reflected in taxonomy