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December 2013

Smithsonian December 2013


Opening Announcements, Cover and Contents, Contributions, From the Editor, Discussion, From the Castle



This month our theme is color, from a new, growth of invasive plants, sea ice, brains...

Dreaming of Shakespeare

For renowned director Julie Taymor, the Bard is a fantasy and a nightmare.

By Ron Rosenbaum

National Treasure

One of the earliest examples of ingenuity in the Western Hemisphere is a 1,200-year-old phone.

By Neil Baldwin

Smithsonian, Books, Fast Forward

What's new around the Mall


The 2013 American Ingenuity Awards

We recognize nine of the past year's shining achievements and the innovators behind them.

By Smithsonian magazine

Adam Steltzner

A nine-year project to land the $2.5 billion Curiosity rover on Mars came down to seven nail-biting minutes.

By Jennifer Ouellette

St. Vincent

She brings new sophistication to top composition, conjuring ethereal dreamscapes from her suburban roots.

By Geoffrey Himes

Dave Eggers and Mimi Lok

By capturing the stories of those who've survived crises, voice of witness is changing the way we record history.

By Eliza Griswold

Saumil Bandyopadhyay

A teenager harnesses cutting-edge physics and nanotechnology for a new kind of radiation detector with possible applications ranging from automobiles to astronomy.

By Abigail Tucker

John Rogers

A revolutionary materials scientist pushes the boundaries of medicine with electronics that melt in your body.

By Ariel Sabar

Caroline Winterer

How one historian is harnessing big data to map Ben Franklin’s world of Enlightenment ideas.

By Jonathan Lyons

Caroline Hoxby

New research is revolutionizing the way the best colleges reach out to talented low-income students.

By Deborah Solomon

Doug Aitken

He uses video, music, mirrors, railroad cars, even entire buildings to create works that make every viewer a participant.

By Steve Erickson

Michael Skinner

He enraged the chemical community and shocked his peers by discovering that DNA changes aren’t the only way the environment.

By Jeneen Interlandi