Scientific Innovation

Charles Steinmetz, circa 1915

Charles Proteus Steinmetz, the Wizard of Schenectady

His contributions to mathematics and electrical engineering made him one of the most beloved and instantly recognizable men of his time.

An ideal spot for relaxation

How to Enjoy National Relaxation Day

Some folks say this should be declared National Relaxation Day. Here are some products that claim to help you get your mellow on

The M-dress

Clothes Encounters

Clothing embedded with nanotechnology taps into our growing desire to turn everyday things into electronic gadgets

Body hackers can get all sorts of information about their personal health.

Me, My Data and I

The Department of Innovation logo by Jamie Simon

Welcome to the Department of Innovation

An introduction to our new blog about people and ideas that likely will shape the way we will live one day

Before wastewater is treated, scientists can look for traces of illegal drugs.

Sewage Epidemiology Not Just a Pipe Dream

Scientists are beginning to analyze sewage to track the use of illegal drugs

Engineer Tad McGeer, at his company's headquarters near Bingen, Washington, played a key role in getting the civilian drone industry off the ground.

Drones are Ready for Takeoff

Will unmanned aerial vehicles—drones—soon take civilian passengers on pilotless flights?

"We're just seeing the start of matching patients with the right drug and seeing rapid improvements," says Dr. Brian Druker.

A Triumph in the War Against Cancer

Oncologist Brian Druker developed a new treatment for a deadly cancer, leading to a breakthrough that has transformed medicine

Wanted: new tools for learning science.

Up with Science

The Solúcar facility's acres of heliostats, or mirrors, focus the sun's rays to create temperatures of 570 degrees, generating energy but not harmful emissions.

A Spanish Breakthrough in Harnessing Solar Power

Solar technologies being pioneered in Spain show even greater promise for the United States

Contact lenses that act as computer screens face an obstacle: power.

Embedded Technologies: Power From the People

Energy harvested from our bodies will make possible mind-boggling gadgetry

The consequences of burning fossil fuels are already apparent.  We have just begun to see the effects of human-induced climate change.

The Ten Most Disturbing Scientific Discoveries

Scientists have come to some surprising conclusions about the world and our place in it. Are some things just better left unknown?

Three-toed sloths are among the animal species studied by Smithsonian scientists in Panama.

How Sleepy Are Sloths and Other Lessons Learned

Smithsonian scientists use radio technology to track animals in an island jungle in the middle of the Panama Canal

Henrietta Lacks' cells were essential in developing the polio vaccine and were used in scientific landmarks such as cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization.

Henrietta Lacks’ ‘Immortal’ Cells

Journalist Rebecca Skloot’s new book investigates how a poor black tobacco farmer had a groundbreaking impact on modern medicine


Science to Religion: Can't We All Just Get Along?


Signs of Life

Astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger analyzes light from distant stars for evidence we're not alone


Midas Touch

To clean highly polluted groundwater, Michael Wong has developed a detergent based on gold


How to Make a Dodo

Biologist Beth Shapiro has figured out a recipe for success in the field of ancient DNA research

Why does the human immune system sometimes fail to thwart invaders? John Wherry is trying to find out, the better to design a more effective flu vaccine.

Flu Fighter

With a possible pandemic in our future, immunologist John Wherry is racing to develop a once-a-lifetime vaccine



Primatologist Brian Hare investigates the social behavior of chimpanzees and bonobos in Africa. But dogs and foxes showed him the way

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