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

Breakdown

Missing
about 4 years ago

Naturally occurring bacteria, which are the only real solution to the Gulf oil spill, are much more effective than any lab-grown microbe—further proof that man cannot best mother nature. "The natural world is replete with a host of organisms that combine as a community to decompose oil—and no single ...

IdeaFeed

The Slavery Question

Missing
about 4 years ago

Without disputing the immorality of Confederate slavery, the role it played in igniting the Civil War remains debatable among historians a century and half since Appomattox. "Sometimes progress takes the form of historical amnesia. Yet the question of what the Civil War was about, and therefore what ...

IdeaFeed

"Free Won't"

Missing
about 4 years ago

"We may not have free will, but we have 'free wont', which is as good as saying we're not totally deterministic. So far so good," writes Dr. David Rock. "Instead of wondering if free will is 'real' or not, a range of new research is pulling apart the question of whether a belief in free will is ...

IdeaFeed

Rise of China

Missing
about 4 years ago

Should the next generation learn Chinese? "Despite China’s rise, Chinese isn’t the world language of the future; the writing system simply makes it far too hard," says Robert Green. "Yes, Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most commonly spoken language, if you simply count the number of speakers. But ...

IdeaFeed

Overdoing It

Missing
about 4 years ago

“Overuse injuries, overtraining and burnout among child and adolescent athletes are a growing problem in the United States," says pediatrician Dr. Joel S. Brenner. "As more young athletes are becoming professionals at a younger age, there is more pressure to grab a piece of the ‘professional pie ...

IdeaFeed

Notorious Reformist

Missing
about 4 years ago

"Dubbed the 'best-known Muslim in all of Europe,' a 'Muslim Martin Luther,' and 'the prophet of a new Euro-Islam'", Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim reformist worth considering. "If it's dangerous to zap Islamism these days, it's not easy being a Muslim reformist thinker, either. Most coverage of Ramadan ...

IdeaFeed

Men's Studies

Missing
about 4 years ago

Though nearly every university has a women's studies department, the lack of men's studies in a time of declining male performance is an issue some professors are confronting. "It all amounts to male myopia in the ivory tower in which boys and men are studied through a distinctly feminist prism ...

IdeaFeed

Mood Matters

Missing
about 4 years ago

What moves the world and its institutions are highly changeable emotions of groups of individuals, not rational decision making, says author and sociologist John Casti. "Feelings, not rational calculations, are what matter. To see what our world might be like tomorrow, next year or next decade, we ...

IdeaFeed

100 m.p.g.

Missing
about 4 years ago

West Philadelphia high school has entered two cars into the X-Prize competition which requires production-ready models that get over 100 miles per gallon. "For this competition, West Philly bought a build-it-yourself racing-car kit meant to be powered by a Porsche or Corvette engine. Instead, they ...

IdeaFeed

Left to Right

Missing
about 4 years ago

Once a darling of the left, Christopher Hitchens turned to support neo-conservative foreign policy and has written a new memoir about his political evolution. "So chief among Hitchens' emotions by the end of the day on 11 September was 'exhilaration. Because I thought, now we have a very clearly ...

IdeaFeed

Book Learnin'

Missing
about 4 years ago

Historical perversions and obfuscating euphemisms have the support of the Texas school book board which is seeking to tell an especially politicized version of history. The board wants to emphasize Jefferson Davis over Abraham Lincoln in history texts and replace "slave trade" with "triangle trade ...

IdeaFeed

Global Cooling

Missing
about 4 years ago

Adding nanoparticles to water increase its thermal conductivity, or its ability to take heat away from something, which could save the world a significant amount of electricity. "In a world where the cost of coolth is a significant economic drain (industrial cooling consumes 7% of the electricity ...

IdeaFeed

Beautiful Tweets

Missing
about 4 years ago

Stephen Fry will select the most beautiful tweet ever written at the Guardian Hay literature festival in England in keeping with the festival's non-elitist approach. "'The definition of most beautiful tweet could fall into a number of different categories: it could prove the most eloquent; the most ...

IdeaFeed

A Real Scorcher

Missing
about 4 years ago

Climate scientists looking at data from 2010 think the warm weather phenomenon El Niño combined with global warming could make for a hot summer—the hottest ever. "'We have seen rapid warming recently, but it is an example of natural variation that is associated with changes in the Pacific rather ...

IdeaFeed

Healthy at Home

Missing
about 4 years ago

Technology is decentralizing medical treatments from costly hospitals to primary care physicians and patients themselves with more focus placed on preventative care. "The potential transformation faces formidable obstacles, to be sure. Some of those hurdles include getting patients to embrace ...