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

The Audacity of Solving Grand Challenges

January 21, 2014, 12:00 AM
Shutterstock_52453933

Is humanity really capable of tackling grand challenges? Just look at the example of the Human Genome Project. 

The mapping of the human genome was an audacious task, explains Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. "It would require an industrialization, a scientific effort that was really unusual for biomedical research." Green points out that biomedical researchers typically have laboratories of half a dozen people. "They work on profoundly difficult problems and they like to explore.  They like to ask big questions," Green says.  

The Human Genome Project was very different.  It had to be a very focused effort with a very defined agenda: Sequence the human genome. The story of this project is told through a current exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian called "Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code."

In the video below, Green, who collaborated with the Smithsonian on the exhibition, describes how multiple countries and thousands of scholars proved how a "grandly large project requiring many people" could be completed if it has "a very defined goal."  

Watch the video here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

More from the Big Idea for Tuesday, January 21 2014

The Science of Breakthroughs

Where do breakthroughs come from?¬† There is a certain audacity that is required to take on grand challenges, says¬†Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. But ultim... Read More…

 

The Audacity of Solving Gra...

Newsletter: Share: