Category Archives: Science

Ask Smithsonian: Why Do We Kiss?

Love snuggling up to a sweetie and smooching? That’s romantic, but—spoiler alert—kissing can be a disgusting and dangerous activity.  While kissing, couples exchange 9 milliliters of water, 0.7 milligrams of protein, 0.18 mg of organic compounds, 0.71 mg of fats, … Continue reading

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Cancer Moonshot Effort Unveils Dozens of Initiatives to Speed Research

WASHINGTON, DC — US federal officials have unveiled a dozen new initiatives designed to accelerate cancer research, speed new therapies to patients, foster data sharing, and simplify participation in clinical trials, all part of the formal liftoff of the Cancer … Continue reading

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Ask Smithsonian: How Do Spiders Make Their Webs?

Spiders are skillful engineers, gifted with amazing planning skills and a material that allows them to precisely design rigorous and functional webs. The material—spider silk—has chemical properties that make it lustrous, strong and light. It’s stronger than steel and has … Continue reading

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How Thousands of Dead Bugs Become a Mesmerizing Work of Extraordinary Beauty

Jennifer Angus’ artwork is startling, especially when it dawns on you that what is on view is not beautifully drawn, patterned wallpaper. Depending on your mindset, it’s either a nightmarishly freakish, or beautifully mesmerizing assemblage, of insects Beyond the visceral gut … Continue reading

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Ventures with Venoms

Combinatorial chemistry and high-throughput screening have been the rage in drug discovery since the late 1990s, but plant and animal sources still hold promise. In particular, venoms have proven to be rich areas for exploitation. Drugs derived from snakes, vampire … Continue reading

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Shifting Tactics in the Battle Against Influenza

When U.S. Food and Drug Administration experts met to pick viral targets for the next flu season, they also discussed a promising new way to create vaccines. Read more…

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A Conversation with Cristian Samper: A Fascination With Forests Finds Fulfillment at Smithsonian

As a boy, Cristian Samper rambled through the tropical forests of his native Colombia, marveling at the diversity that surrounded him. Not content to view the flora and fauna only in the abstract, he began what was to become a lifelong obsession and vocation, cataloging the diversity and assembling it into collections that forcefully argue for its preservation. Continue reading

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