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

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

How SETI's Hunt for Aliens Is Speeding Up

August 1, 2012, 9:53 AM
Seti%20fo'%20real%20ss

What's the Latest Development?

SETI, or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has a new director in Gerry Harp, who took over the post last May from famed signal hunter Jill Tarter. In a recent interview, Harp explained how he and his team use the 42 radio telescopes of the Allen Telescope Array to search a wide swath of the heavens for signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Since the project's inception, its team of scientists have looked primarily for a narrowband signal just 1 Hz wide, reasoning that alien civilizations would send a narrow signal because it travels faster than wide signals. Today, however, the reasoning has changed and astronomers, believing that aliens would send an encoded message, are searching for wider signals. 

What's the Big Idea?

The 42 telescopes SETI currently uses are just part of the 350 originally planned, but securing funding has been a problem for the group. There is light on the horizon, however, in the form of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a large collection of radio dishes that’s set to be constructed in Australia and South Africa. Even if all 350 dishes were to be built, their combined power would still be less than 1% of the SKA. "When SETI becomes more complete," said Harp, "when we have more complete information about what sorts of signals are arriving from stars in the galaxy, we are going to start making statements of the probability of there being intelligent life in the galaxy."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


 

How SETI's Hunt for Aliens ...

Newsletter: Share: