Skip to main site content.

Works of genius

Pioneering women honored with Smithsonian’s American Ingenuity Award

November 16, 2015

The winners of the Smithsonian’s annual American Ingenuity Awards have been announced, among them many inspiring women: artists Zoe Crosher and Shamin Momin; editor Françoise Mouly; engineer Rana el Kaliouby and young inventor Lilianna Zyszkowski. Crosher, a multimedia artist, and Momin, founder and director of a nonprofit public-art organization, made their mark on the U.S. — quite literally — with “Manifest Destiny Billboard Project.” The project  split the 2,460 miles of Interstate 10 into ten “chapters” of ten billboards each, giving each chapter to a different artist to design as they wished. Mouly, art editor of famed mag The New Yorker and wife of celebrated cartoonist Art Spiegelman, has been encouraging children to read by creating and publishing comic books that schools and children alike are embracing. El Kaliouby is honored for founding Affectiva and pioneering “affective computing:” machines capable of recognizing emotions from human facial expressions. Zyszkowski, now 15, invented the PillMinder — a device that tracks medication intake — at age 11, and has recently filed a patent for a product designed to notify patients or doctors of potential overconsumption of pills.

Read the full story at Smithsonian Magazine.