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

For Soldiers, Protection Against The Smallest Enemies

November 29, 2012, 10:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently received a grant from the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency for additional design and manufacturing of a composite fabric that will repel most biological and chemical agents. The primary layer is made up of carbon nanotube pores, which transport gases much faster than pores made from other materials. This makes the fabric extremely breathable when worn in normal conditions, yet close to impermeable in case of an attack involving biological or chemical weapons.

What's the Big Idea?

Some biological agents, such as bacteria, are automatically blocked simply because the nanotube pores are smaller than they are. This isn't the case for chemical agents such as nerve gas, which is where the extra protection comes in: The team is working on adding functional groups to the fabric that will sense and block the agent, as well as a "shedding" response that will cause the fabric to peel off upon contact with the invading substance. In all cases the material will switch states on its own without any external control. The team estimates that it will be part of military uniforms within the next 10 years.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


For Soldiers, Protection Ag...

Newsletter: Share: