What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

How Andy Warhol Ended up in a Crater on Mercury

May 19, 2012, 10:31 PM
Mercury%20craters%20from%20messenger

Andy Warhol looked for fame any place he could find it, so news that a crater on the surface of the planet Mercury has been named in his honor comes as no surprise. Warhol joined 22 other famous dead artists, musicians, and writers in that distinction recently, according to a NASA press release last month. It may seem like one small step for Warhol, but it actually might be one giant leap for late 20th century art’s acceptance on a universal level.

I confess that I didn’t know that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) had an “established naming theme” for craters on Mercury that called for honoring only creative types, but now that I know, I think it’s the coolest non-Stephen Colbert-related NASA has ever done. It’s truly an eclectic and international bunch of names in this latest group. Along with Warhol, artists Robert Henri, Rene Magritte (who already has an asteroid named after him), and Theodore “Dr.” Seuss Geisel gained galactic glory.

Less familiar names, at least to Western ears, join them such as Maija Grotell (a 20th century ceramist whose experiments in glaze technology earned her the title of "mother of American ceramics"), Vincent Akwete Kofi (a 20th century Ghanaian sculptor), Arthur Lismer (a 20th century Canadian painter who belonged to the Group of Seven, Canada’s first major national art movement), and. Ulrica Fredrica Pasch (a groundbreaking 18th century female Swedish painter and miniaturist). The honorees really reflect the “international” in the IAU’s name. Personally, I feel a little ashamed that I had to go to Mercury to even hear of someone such as Ulrica Pasch, but that’s the state of most art history when it comes to women artists. (The language barrier between English and the Scandinavian world doesn’t help, either.)

Mercury the planet is named after Mercury the Roman god who served as the divine messenger. Mercury the planet is also absolutely covered in craters. MESSENGER (which stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging), the NASA probe launched in August 2004 to study Mercury until its power runs out around March 2013, has taken almost 100,000 images (including the one shown above). With these new pictures, the race is on to claim previously unseen geographic features and bestow a favorite famous or sadly neglected artist’s name to them. While some of the artists may have made a greater impact here on Earth than others, it doesn’t mean that they’re less deserving for their role as a divine messenger of art. Each of them deserves their Warholian 15 minutes of fame, even if they have to go to another planet to find them.

 

How Andy Warhol Ended up in...

Newsletter: Share: