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

Lasers Will Control the Weather

September 1, 2011, 10:30 AM
Lasers

What's the Latest Development?

A physicist at the University of Geneva says lasers can be used to condense water droplets from thin air by creating nitric acid particles that can bind water molecules and prevent them from evaporating. "These initial water particles form what is known as 'condensation nuclei' on which more water droplets can attach and collect, eventually growing into tiny drops just a few thousandths of a millimeter in diameter." To date, the water molecules collected by scientists are one hundred times too small to form raindrops. 

What's the Big Idea?

Scientists are optimistic that this technology will one day be able to condense water molecules large enough to fall to the Earth, thereby creating rain. Conversely, the technology could be used to create tiny water molecules so multitudinous that raindrops would be prevented from condensing, stopping rain before it starts. Compared to a method used in 2009, when a Chinese team created artificial clouds to induce rain, using a laser means there is an on/off switch which removes a certain amount of guess work. 

 

Lasers Will Control the Wea...

Newsletter: Share: