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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Cancer or Art?

October 19, 2009, 9:15 AM
“Science and art once held hands. Robert Hooke, 17th century pioneer of microscopy, did a beautiful picture of a flea, enormously magnified, that is a classic of English draughtsmanship. The scientist-illustrators in the tenth Wellcome Image Awards are generally photographers. The camera, at least, provides most of their material. Still, they can't help being artists too. However functional their illustrations are, function will not dictate every decision,” writes The Independent’s Tom Lubbock. He describes an exhibition full of things you can’t identify by eye, of biological entities (such as lung cancer cells), with startling shapes, colours and ethereal qualities that appear beautiful to the onlooker unaware that they are admiring a deadly virus. He says: “But with all these images, there is a subtext too. What looks quasi-abstract is in fact definitely representational of something quite else. And the puzzling question – it arises in art galleries too – is this: do you look at the caption? Do you find out what these weird patterns really are?”

Cancer or Art?

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