What is Seriously Amazing?

The Smithsonian is all about questions and answers, and the Smithsonian Seriously Amazing campaign brings those questions to life.

Tell us about your Smithsonian experience in person or online through the Smithsonian Twitter page at https://twitter.com/smithsonian using #seriouslyamazing.

What is an SI—Q?

What is an SI—Q?

The Smithsonian asks and answers questions every day about science, art, history and culture.

Look for the SI—Q symbol and ask and answer some questions along with us!

About Smithsonian

The Smithsonian asks and answers questions about science, art, history and culture, exciting the learning in everyone, every day.

Our experts share their ideas and our treasures through our museums, research centers and libraries; on our websites, magazines and media channels; and with partners across America and around the globe. We learn in all different ways, with all different kinds of people.

For more about how you can learn with Smithsonian, visit www.si.edu.

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SI—Q

Want more of a say in what happens at the Smithsonian?

We are looking for a few good Smithsonian fans to join our Smithsonian Fan Forum (SFF), an online group of our friends and visitors who will give us feedback on an array of Smithsonian initiatives. If you would like to provide occasional feedback to the Smithsonian and help us plan for the future, please click below to sign up.

Join the Smithsonian Fan Forum ›

SI—Q

What has given us water from Mars and daggers from India?

Meteorites at the Smithsonian. From slicing them open to expose their inner secrets to revealing how one emperor used a meteorite to make blades for his ceremonial weapons—Smithsonian experts study meteorites from many angles.

Meteorites Rock! ›

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What can mimic a bug or whack you in the face to get what it wants?

Orchids. With their beauty, mystery and deceit, the Smithsonian's collection of nearly 8,000 live orchids try every trick in the book just to get pollinated.

Nine Ways to Lure a Lover—Orchid-Style ›

SI—Q

What is part man, part fish and all latex?

Paul Thek’s Fishman. The sculpture has changed a lot since its creation in 1968: The original color of the latex has darkened and lost its elasticity, and parts of the sculpture have broken or crumbled away. In 2010, Fishman underwent a major treatment, which required conservators at Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum to develop new techniques since established conservation materials and methods weren’t compatible with the material.

Saving A Sculpture, One Fish at a Time ›

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Our world is a gauntlet of death for birds. Habitat loss, cats, chemicals & more: #SOTB14 http://t.co/RBTuEJFpPt http://t.co/oqsZhcp3V5

3 months ago

SI—Q

How many cables does it take to hang a 5-ton airplane?

Join Anthony Carp at Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum as he shows us the science behind how he hangs some of our heaviest artifacts at the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center.

Planes and spaceships and more ›

SI—Q

What plant smells good enough to eat?

SI—Q

How do you entertain an otter?

Join Smithsonian's National Zoo keeper, Stacey Tabellario, as she shows us why enrichment activities for our Asian Small-Clawed Otters are so important.

Meet our family group of otters ›

SI—Q

What color is chocolate?

Natural chocolate is actually a reddish color. Chocolate didn't turn brown until chemists got their hands on it.

How did this happen? ›

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Here's how @3d_digi_si and @chandraxray worked together to allow you to hold a dying star in your hand: https://t.co/MheCllDVHR

3 months ago

The ensemble worn by Marian Anderson for her historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

A watershed moment ›

SI—Q

How can you help make history with the Smithsonian?

Happy American Archives Month! The Smithsonian Institution Archives staff show us how the Smithsonian has been crowd sourcing for 165 years.

Crowdsourcing the weather and the stars ›

SI—Q

Born to a poet, how did Ada Lovelace turn to a career in tech?

Surprisingly, Lovelace never met her poet father due to a parental squabble. In fact, her overprotective mother sheltered her from the arts and nudged her to pursue math and science. Lovelace is best known for translating and adding to notes about Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, including a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers; this is widely consider to be the script for the first computer program.

See more women in science from the Smithsonian ›

SI—Q

Were baseball players always this hairy?

At the turn of the 20th century, the majority of baseball players sported mustaches. But by the 1930s, fuzzy upper lips were frowned upon in the major leagues. The idea was to make the game more appealing to families, by keeping the boys clean-shaven and well groomed.

Baseball's best facial hair ›

SI—Q

Did hobbits really exist?

Meet Homo floresiensis, nicknamed “hobbit” because of its short stature and large feet. This early human species lived on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Its body and brain were very small, probably due to the scarce resources available on the one island where it’s been found so far.

What does it mean to be human? ›

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Can your biggest fear shape your art?

It can! In this case, a fear of iguanas can be an inspiration to explore identity in pictures. Karen Miranda Rivadeneira is a Latina artist featured in the National Portrait Gallery's new exhibition, Portraiture Now: Staging the Self. Karen uses photography to explore the intersection between memory and identity.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month ›

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How can you hold a dying star in your hand?

You can 3D print a model of a supernova made from Smithsonian data. It is one of 23 collection items that have been 3D scanned and data made available for download by the Smithsonian 3D Digitization team.

Print a 3D model of your own ›

SI—Q

Which insect has multi-talented legs?

Katydids! Their front wings have special structures that can be rubbed together to make sounds. They hear these sounds with flat patches on their legs that act as ears.

Bugs aplenty! ›

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the companion facility to the Museum on the National Mall.

This photo is one of 100 that make up the “American Cool” exhibition at the Portrait Gallery.

American Cool ›

The Smithsonian honors the musical legacy of Coltrane during Jazz Appreciation month.

American stories ›

SI—Q

If Pablo Picasso was in charge of the guest list who would he invite?

With a list jotted down on a scrap of paper, Pablo Picasso listed the European artists he recommended for the 1913 Armory Show. With phonetic spelling, Picasso recommended Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Leger and Juan Gris, among others.

Picasso's short list ›

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction.

Once there were billions ›

SI—Q

When -- and why -- did Apple promise to keep you away from Big Brother?

Companies pay millions to broadcast innovative ads during the Super Bowl. In 1984, Apple promised in its Super Bowl XVIII spot that when its Macintosh was released, “you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’.” The “Classic” Macintosh PC introduced clickable icons (with the newly introduced “mouse”) to open programs instead of typing out program commands.

Kiss those floppy disks goodbye ›

May 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of Batman’s debut with DC Comics.

Lady slipper orchids are just some of the varieties in the exhibition “Orchids of Latin America.”

If the slipper fits, pollinate it. ›

SI—Q

Where can you put your own stamp on history?

At The National Postal Museum, visitors can create their own stamp collection on topics that interest them most. Interactive stations also allow visitors to create their own stamp designs.

Connect with U.S Stamps ›

This is the smallest shark, a dwarf lantern shark – smaller than a person's hand!

Petite predator ›

SI—Q

What's a sweet way to visualize our universe?

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory has illustrated the energy distribution of our universe by using a jar of jelly beans, mostly black. Dark energy and dark matter (black jelly beans) take up most of the Universe.

Delicious science ›

This folk art guitar has a two chambers for stashing strings, picks or snacks

A primitive guitar ›

SI—Q

What jungle bird has all the right moves?

Few have witnessed the flamboyant courtship displays of Papua New Guinea's Flame Bowerbird. Hidden in the dense jungles, the bird's extraordinary mating ritual has captured the interest of wildlife experts across the world.

A sultry dance ›