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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Blog Posts

IdeaFeed

Supreme Disclosure

Missing
over 4 years ago

William Saletan argues that we shouldn't ask Elena Kagan is she's gay, and she needn't volunteer an answer. "The political threat is that unconventional sexuality or religion can destroy the nominee," he writes. "But the moral threat is far greater. In the act of forced disclosure, 'one's ability to ...

IdeaFeed

Fashionable Godlessness

Missing
over 4 years ago

David B. Hart wonders if the “New Atheism” movement "is only a passing fad—not the cultural watershed its purveyors imagine it to be, but simply one of those occasional and inexplicable marketing vogues that inevitably go the way of pet rocks, disco, prime-time soaps, and The Bridges of Madison ...

IdeaFeed

Not Their Cup of Tea

Missing
over 4 years ago

"The tea party movement’s issues are somewhat more complex than 30-second TV news clips suggest," writes Walter Rodgers, who suggests the vocalized concerns of tea partiers about big government mask a fear among aging, white Americans of their own diminishing political power. "Today’s tea party may ...

IdeaFeed

The Science of Morality

Missing
over 4 years ago

Sam Harris talks about the response to his argument at TED that "morality should be considered an undeveloped branch of science." He discovered in the responses that "many smart people believe that something in the last few centuries of intellectual progress prevents us from making cross-cultural ...

IdeaFeed

Ramps Defy Gravity

Missing
over 4 years ago

A Japanese mathematician has come up with what has been called the best illusion of the year by vision scientists. Kokichi Sugihara created a structure of complicated cardboard ramps that that seemed to make balls placed on the structure defy gravity. "From every viewpoint but one the contraption ...

IdeaFeed

The New Squatters

Missing
over 4 years ago

In the wake of the housing bubble's burst, squatters are making their move on abandoned properties. Some are not just squatting for financial expediency—they are anarchists who believe everyone has a right to housing and reject the idea that homes be treated as commodities to be speculated over for ...

Novel Copy

Full Disclosure

Crime-scene-tape-706717
over 4 years ago

Since the murder of a middle school principal in the suburbs of DC last month, the Washington Post has grappled with the complexities of how much to disclose about a victim's personal life. Brian Betts, an innovative educator at the forefront of the district's efforts to turn around its ...

Politeia

The Kagan Conundrum

Elena_kagan_2
over 4 years ago

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama's new nominee for the Supreme Court, is by all accounts spectacularly brilliant. She was also, by all accounts, did a fantastic Dean of Harvard Law School. If confirmed she would be the youngest justice on the current court, and just the fourth woman ...

IdeaFeed

Over-the-Counter Genetics

Missing
over 4 years ago

Beginning Friday, shoppers at more than 6,000 drugstores will be able to pick up a test to scan their genes for a propensity for Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, diabetes and other ailments. The test also claims that it can give a sense of whether the user has a propensity for obesity or ...

IdeaFeed

Mouse Fatherhood

Missing
over 4 years ago

Researchers have discovered that paternal mice that physically interact with their babies grow new brain cells and form lasting memories of their babies. Scientists determined that when paternal mice interact with their newborn babies, new brain cells develop in the olfactory bulb—the part of the ...

IdeaFeed

Market Mystery

Missing
over 4 years ago

Last Thursday, May 6th, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1000 points in a matter of minutes. The House Financial Services Committee will be holding a hearing today to try to figure out what happened, but there are still many major unknowns, including, ominously, what caused it, who was to blame ...