The National Center for Atmospheric Research. National Center for Atmospheric Research

America’s success has been fed by its innovators and inventors – optimists like Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison whose inspired work continues, even after their deaths, to fuel this country’s growth. Author Alec Foege celebrates these quirky geniuses in his new book, The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make America Great (Basic Books). Certain sites still resonate with a tinkering spirit, he says: “These are places to go to inspire if you want to create your own project or just to get into the mind-set.” He shares some favorites with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

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