New Research

A new analysis dates the wax bust's creation to the 19th century—some 300 years after Leonardo's death in 1519.

New Research

Whale Wax Helps Scholars Solve Mystery of Supposed Leonardo da Vinci Sculpture

Radiocarbon dating places the bust's creation centuries after the Renaissance artist's death in 1519

Researchers created this 3- by 2-centimeter version of The Starry Night in just four minutes.

Art Meets Science

Scientists Use Laser Paintbrush to Craft Mini Version of van Gogh's 'Starry Night'

The colorful "brushstrokes" are "reversible, rewritable [and] erasable," says scholar Galina Odintsova

The enzyme-enhanced plastic film had the same strength and flexibility as a standard plastic grocery bag.

Innovation for Good

This Biodegradable Plastic Will Actually Break Down in Your Compost

Water and heat activate plastic-munching enzymes that reduce the material to harmless chemical building blocks

A close-up view of Picasso's Seated Man (1917) shows the deep cracks running along its surface.

Art Meets Science

Why Did This Picasso Painting Deteriorate Faster Than Its Peers?

Study examines how animal glue, canvases, layers of paint and chemicals interacted to produce cracks in one work but not in others

Two scribes with near-identical handwriting penned the Great Isaiah Scroll.

Innovation for Good

How A.I. Is Helping Scholars Unlock the Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls

A new handwriting analysis suggests that two scribes collaborated on a key ancient manuscript

In Myanmar, a scientist with Smithsonian’s Global Health Program examines the world’s smallest mammal, a bumblebee bat.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on the Power of Research at the Smithsonian

We can accomplish more when we unite our robust scientific capabilities with our educational reach

Harriet Tubman likely lived in the Maryland cabin between 1839 and 1844, when she was about 17 to 22 years old.

Cool Finds

Site of Harriet Tubman's Lost Maryland Home Found After Decades-Long Search

The Underground Railroad conductor's father, Ben Ross, received the land where the cabin once stood in the early 1840s

NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this image of swirling clouds in Jupiter's northern latitudes on November 3, 2019

New Research

Raindrops Are Surprisingly Similar on Other Planets

Whether they are made of water, methane or liquid iron, raindrops' size and shape are limited by the same equations

Bronze Age wedge tombs like the one pictured here are found throughout southwest Ireland. But the newly discovered burial “seems to be different,” archaeologist Mícheál Ó Coileáin tells the Irish Times. “Wedge tombs are usually visible above ground, [but] this one is completely concealed.”

Cool Finds

Irish Farmer Stumbles Onto 'Untouched' Ancient Tomb

Archaeologists think the well-preserved burial dates to the Bronze Age—or perhaps even earlier

Smoke lingers following fires in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest in August 2020.

New Research

Humans Have Altered 97 Percent of Earth's Land Through Habitat and Species Loss

The study, which did not include Antarctica, also identified opportunities to restore up to 20 percent of land ecosystems

Researchers discovered 87 Neanderthal footprints, as well as a number of tracks left by prehistoric animals.

Cool Finds

100,000-Year-Old Fossilized Footprints Track Neanderthals' Trip to Spanish Coast

Some of the imprints appear to have been left by a child "jumping irregularly as though dancing," researchers say

One of the more than 100 earthen mounds preserved at the Mounds State Historic Site

Why Did Cahokia, One of North America's Largest Pre-Hispanic Cities, Collapse?

A new study challenges the theory that resource exploitation led to the Mississippian metropolis' demise

The largest pterosaurs had wingspans like small aircraft and longer necks than giraffes.

New Research

Unique Bone Structure Helped Long-Necked Pterosaurs Fly

Bicycle wheel-like spokes connected the vertebrae’s central column to its outer surface, offering serious strength

Archaeologists say the skeletons are in an "average state" of preservation.

Why Were These Ancient Adults Buried in Jars on the Island of Corsica?

Researchers are unsure of the unusual funerary practice's purpose but point out that such burials were typically reserved for children

Decades before Teotihuacán's conquest of Tikal in 378 A.D., the two cities may have enjoyed a friendly relationship.

Cool Finds

Were These Ancient Mesoamerican Cities Friends Before They Became Foes?

Ruins found in the Maya metropolis of Tikal appear to be an outpost of the distant Teotihuacán

New research suggests that Swedish Bishop Peder Winstrup was buried alongside the remains of his grandchild, a stillborn fetus delivered at five or six months gestation.

Why Was This Mummified 17th-Century Bishop Buried With a Fetus?

The stillborn baby was likely the grandson of Peder Winstrup, whose well-preserved remains have been the subject of much study

The 50-foot-wide racetrack used to study muons traveled by barge around Florida and up the Mississippi, and then by truck across Illinois.

New Research

New Measurements of Muons Might Rewrite Particle Physics

The gap between theoretical predictions and the experimental measurements isn’t a full-blown discovery yet

The National Museum of Natural History’s 146 million objects and specimens are studied by researchers worldwide who are looking to understand all aspects of the natural world.

Smithsonian Voices

How Museum Collections Advance Knowledge of Human Health

Surprisingly, mosquitoes, leeches, parasites, birds and minerals can be important sources for research to fight cancer and prevent disease

This is an atomic clock that uses the predictable frequency of ytterbium atoms absorbing and emitting light to tell time. A new experiment paired a ytterbium-based atomic clock with two others that used aluminum and strontium atoms, respectively, to create an even more accurate measure of time.

New Research

New Atomic Clocks May Someday Redefine the Length of a Second

Researchers used three atomic clocks to measure time accurately down to the quadrillionth of a percent

Astronaut Scott Kelly shown in October of 2010 in the Cupola of the International Space Station.

New Research

How Space Travel Shrank Astronaut Scott Kelly's Heart

While in orbit, the adaptable muscle doesn't need to combat gravity to pump blood

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