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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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

LEFT BEHIND IN ENGINEERING? The "Economic Competitiveness" Frame is a Major Tool Used to Sell Investment in Science; Duke University Students Question How Bad the Problem Really Is

June 12, 2006, 5:19 AM

The "Economic Competitiveness" frame is one of the dominate ways that proponents of science try to rally public support for investment. Historically, first in the context of the Cold War, and now in the context of globalization, American science has warned that the U.S. is falling behind other nations in science education, PhDs, engineers, science spending etc. The strategy is a classic example of the construction of a social problem, interpreting real-world statistics or events in ways that raises alarm, mobilizes concern, and sponsors action. (See this recent Time magazine cover story as an example or last week's answers to Ask a Science blogger.)

Now, NPR runs a story this morning on Duke University engineering students who decided to double-check government statistics on just how bad the problem might be. Does China, for example, really produce eight times as many engineers as the U.S.? And even if they did, given the population size of China and the level of training available there, in comparative perspective, is this something to be worried about? The link to the Real Audio is not live yet, but it is definitely worth checking out later today.


Newsletter: Share: