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

The Coldest Place in the World

December 10, 2013, 10:30 AM

How cold can it get on Earth? 

In 1983 a temperature of minus 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C) was recorded at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica. However, NASA researchers had a suspicion that a high ridge on the East Antarctic Plateau was likely to be even colder than Vostok because it is at a higher elevation. 

With the launch of the Earth observation satellite Landsat 8, "we finally had a sensor capable of really investigating this area in more detail," explains Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. 

The researchers found extremely cold temperatures along a 620-mile stretch of a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji, two summits on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau. Then, with the higher resolution of the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) aboard Landsat 8, the research team pinpointed the record-setting pockets.

The record low: minus 136 F (minus 93.2 C), set on August 10, 2010.

Watch this video from the NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio:



The Coldest Place in the World

Newsletter: Share: