We mark Smithsonian‘s 35th anniversary by revisiting scientists, artists and scholars who’ve enriched the magazineâ€”and our lives
Every genius, said the Danish writer Isak Dinesen, is doomed. She meant that geniuses, or those touched with a spark of it, had very little choice in life. Each one, she said, was powerless “in the face of his own powers,” compelled to follow a certain path and to do a particular thing with instinctive flair and originality, whether that meant being a master chef, an inspired writer of poetry or an astronomer unraveling the secrets of the stars.
Genius is an overused word these days, but it may not be too strong a label for many of the figures marching through our pages this month. All have been chosen for inclusion because what they doâ€”or what they have doneâ€”has made a difference. And a contribution. Each has been here before to enliven Smithsonian; most continue to enrich our lives by their work; all will doubtless inspire future generations by their example.”