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 Silicon Could Become Part Of Solar Energy's Past

June 26, 2013, 1:30 PM
Shutterstock_105061943

What's the Latest Development?

This week Harvard University presented the scientific community with the gift of an open-source database containing information on 2.3 million carbon-based materials, some of which could eventually replace silicon as the main ingredient in solar cell production. Using IBM's World Community Grid, which uses volunteer computers' processing time to increase calculation speeds, a team of researchers was able to complete one of the largest sets of materials science data ever assembled -- nearly 400 Tb -- in a fraction of the time. It's part of the Materials Genome Initiative, a project designed to speed up the development of advanced materials and which also celebrated its two-year anniversary this week. 

What's the Big Idea?

If an organic material exists that could match or improve on the efficiency rate of silicon, solar cell production could ramp up considerably, and the costs would be much lower. However, a great deal of additional research is needed in order to find and then test such a material. Fortunately, the database is open to all interested researchers, and two major universities -- the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Georgia Institute of Technology -- have announced that they will create material innovation programs with the help of $15 million in funding.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at GigaOM

 

How Silicon Could Become Pa...

Newsletter: Share: