Scientific Innovation

The hydrogel mimics the epiphragm, a temporary adhesive layer that hardens when dried and softens when rehydrated with water

Snail-Inspired Super Glue Can Support the Weight of a 200-Pound Human

The adhesive offers both impressive strength and reusability, avoiding the problems posed by strong but irreversible glues and vice versa

An artist's rendering of the recomposition facility

Washington Becomes First State to Allow 'Human Composting' as a Burial Method

The accelerated decomposition method transforms remains into soil and uses just an eighth of the energy required for cremation

The synthetic DNA contains 61 codons, as opposed to the 64 typically found in living organisms

Scientists Create E. Coli Bacteria With Completely Synthetic Genome

The synthetic organisms appear to function much like their natural counterparts

In trials, the app detected the presence of ear fluid with 85 percent accuracy

Researchers Develop App That Plays Chirping Sounds to Check for Ear Infections

Although EarHealth isn’t currently available for purchase, the team hopes to receive F.D.A. approval by the end of 2019

An animation of the eight color-coded bases of hachimoji DNA

Scientists Successfully Double the DNA Alphabet

"Hachimoji DNA" is structurally sound, offers new possibilities for data storage and raises questions about the molecular makeup potential alien life

The first column shows the image being displayed on the LCD screen that the camera couldn't see. The second image is what was reflected onto the white wall, or the scene the camera captured. The third and fourth were produced without knowing the position of the occluded object. The last row, slightly better, shows the image produced with knowledge of the object's location.

Scientists Used an Ordinary Digital Camera to Peer Around a Corner

A team from Boston University recreated an image of an object using its shadow


The Innovative Spirit: Changing Our World For the Better

In partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, we look at the innovative spirit within the Smithsonian and beyond

When the U.S. Government Tried to Make It Rain by Exploding Dynamite in the Sky

Inspired by weather patterns during the Civil War, the rainmakers of the 1890s headed to west Texas to test their theory

Berry started his career colorizing actual telescope data. His more recent work includes this artistic impression of a black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1068. The material trapped around the black hole is moving so fast that the light itself is either compressed to blue where the material is coming toward the viewer, or stretched to red, where it is rushing away from the viewer.

The Supernova That Launched a Thousand Gorgeous Space Images

By colorizing one of the first Hubble satellite images, illustrator Dana Berry ushered in a new era of stunning space visuals

Scientists Explain The Thrill of Detecting a Neutrino From a Far-Off Galaxy

For the first time, the IceCube observatory has triumphantly tracked a neutrino back to a massive blazar

The charred papyrus scroll recovered from Herculaneum is preserved in 12 trays mounted under glass. Here is PHerc.118 in tray 8. The scroll was physically unrolled in 1883-84, causing irreparable damage.

Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia

A revolutionary American scientist is using subatomic physics to decipher 2,000-year-old texts from the early days of Western civilization

Most Parents Want to Test Their Unborn Kids' Genes For Disease Risk

Despite the fact that they might not like what they learn

Silverman's mushroom shoe prototype is sustainable—but will it  hold up in the rain?

Are These Baked Mushroom Sandals the Future of Fashion?

As sustainable fashion goes mainstream, multiple designers are turning to fungi for compostable attire

Ten Female Innovators to Watch In 2018

These inventors, startup founders and businesswomen have exciting things happening this year. Stay tuned!

Why We Should Test Heart Drugs On a 'Virtual Human' Instead of Animals

Thousands of animals are used for heart drug tests each year—but research shows that computer-simulated trials are more accurate

Inside the Colorado Vault That Keeps Your Favorite Foods From Going Extinct

From heirloom potatoes to honeybee sperm, this collection works to preserve our invaluable agricultural diversity

Kinorhynchs (aka mud dragons) range in size from about 0.13 to one millimeter. Like other meiofauna species, they are integral parts of marine food chains in sediments throughout the world.

King of the Mud Dragons

Robert Higgins has spent his career dredging out tiny creatures from dirt and obscurity

This Electronic "Skin" Already Has a Sense of Touch. Now It Can Also Heal Itself

The new e-skin can both heal itself and be recycled, limiting electronic waste

Will blue packets replace pink ones soon?

Heart-Stopping Arrow Poison Could Be the Key to Male Birth Control

A non-toxic version of the compound interrupts fertilization in rats

The reproductive organs of Schlumbergera, known as the Holiday Cactus. This was heady stuff in Erasmus Darwin's time.

Charles Darwin’s Grandfather Was Famous for His Poems About Plant Sex

Erasmus Darwin’s poetics influenced his grandson’s vision of nature

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