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.

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

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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.

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IdeaFeed Posts

Big ideas in the news from around the web

IdeaFeed

Innovative Climate Change Solutions

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Scientists are trying to regulate the weather with ambitious experiments that may even tackle global warming. Is this a great step forward?" The Independent looks at the strangest of these ideas. "Who would wish further mayhem on an already wayward weather system? Yet this is just one of a number ...

IdeaFeed

Personality Is Not Genetic

Missing
about 4 years ago

Personalities are typically thought to be genetically determined; not so, says the New Scientist: "We may learn our personalities, and adjust them to situations we find ourselves in over time." "Extroverts are born not made — or at least, that's what they say. But what if it's more subtle than that ...

IdeaFeed

The Most Corrupt Country on Earth

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Corruption has marred every aspect of Somali society," says Afyare Abdi Elmi, a professor of International Affairs. It is, he says, the most corrupt country in the world. "Business warlords have adjusted to the climate of lawlessness — avoiding taxes, selling expired food and drugs, sustaining anti ...

IdeaFeed

The Science of Lying

Missing
about 4 years ago

"With deception so significant a part of the natural world, it's little wonder we resort to it almost reflexively. Indeed, who's not to say that lying isn't an in-built part of human nature?" asks the Independent. Despite decades of research, there is yet no reliable scientific test to determine if ...

IdeaFeed

When God Is to Blame

Missing
about 4 years ago

If not humans, is God to blame for recent natural disasters? What are the limits of divine and human agency? The New Yorker explains a philosophical twist whereby divinity is expressed through free will. "A half century ago, the Oxford theologian and philosopher Austin Farrer, a friend of C. S ...

IdeaFeed

Becker and Posner on the Oil Leak

Missing
about 4 years ago

Gary Becker and Richard Posner at the University of Chicago weigh in on the Gulf oil leak. Did BP make a good-faith estimate of the risk entailed by deep-water drilling or was it negligent? Becker continues: "It would be unfortunate if this disaster led to permanently much greater restrictions by ...

IdeaFeed

The End of Something?

Missing
about 4 years ago

If Americans have an impending sense that our present moment represents a capitalized End of Something, let us take the moment to exhale and appreciate the tranquility of finality. "Americans adore beginnings," says James Parker for The Boston Globe. "They can cope with a middle. But the end? Too ...

IdeaFeed

Pessimism Rising

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Just as healthy optimism can turn into irrational exuberance, a clear-eyed realism about the challenges facing the United States can gradually inflate a pessimism bubble," says Ross Douthat today. "Maybe this time is different. The recession is deeper. Our debts are piled higher. The gloom is more ...

IdeaFeed

Rapid Evolution

Missing
about 4 years ago

In just 3,000 years, an evolutionary microsecond, Tibetans have developed a unique version of a gene that helps them adapt to living at high altitudes. This according to a study published in Science. "'The change at this particular position in Tibetan highlanders represents one of the most dramatic ...

IdeaFeed

The American Novel Is Dead

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Fiction has now become a museum-piece genre most of whose practitioners are more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers," says the polemical Lee Siegel. "Declaring the death of the novel is now almost as much of a literary tradition as the novel itself," writes The ...

IdeaFeed

Chomsky on the Threat of Iran

Missing
about 4 years ago

"What exactly is the Iranian threat?" asks Noam Chomsky in his latest article. The linguist turned political activist finds glaring hypocrisies in U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East. "Instead of taking practical steps towards reducing the truly dire threat of nuclear weapons proliferation ...

IdeaFeed

Materialism or Community?

Missing
about 4 years ago

"It seems like we in the West have made a tradeoff between self-reliance and physical comforts and social well being. So, which is more important?" asks a Notre Dame psychology professor. "There seems to be two competing ideas that preoccupy American minds," says psychology professor Darcia Narvaez ...

IdeaFeed

The Rise and Fall of Juárez, Mexico

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Those who haven’t abandoned Juárez may be watching the death of it, both day and night." Sarah Hill gives a tragic account of the Mexican city gone from boom to bust to nearly dust. "Can Juárez be saved? Will the factories reopen, as they have after past economic downturns, or is the city too ...

IdeaFeed

How Amerigo Became America

Missing
about 4 years ago

Matthias Ringmann, a minor scholar and cartographer working in landlocked Eastern France, was responsible for putting America on the map, literally. History, however, has since forgotten him. "Vespucci, it turns out, had no direct role in the naming of America. He probably died without ever having ...

IdeaFeed

Search for the New World

Missing
about 4 years ago

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, made assumptions quite different from Stephen Hawking's dire warnings about aggressive alien life. Should we keep looking? David Kaiser at the London Review of Books finds that the West's most passionate search for alien life, SETI, assumes that ...