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

Social Race

March 23, 2010, 6:08 AM
Race is a “social concept, not a scientific one” claimed geneticist J. Craig Venter following the discovery that humans share 99.9% of the same genetic code irrespective of our skin color. “But as Nell Irvin Painter explains in ‘The History of White People,’ her exhaustive and fascinating new look at the history of the idea of the white race, it's a social construct that goes back much further and is much more complicated than many people think. In the book, Painter, a professor of American history at Princeton, chronicles the evolution of the concept of whiteness from ancient Rome -- where, she points out, the slaves were largely white -- to the 21st century America and explains how, in the era of Obama, our once-narrow concept of whiteness has become at once far broader and less important than ever before. The elevation of some ethnic groups -- Germans and Scandinavians -- as ‘whiter’ than others can largely be tied to a small number of scientists who shared an obsession with both measuring people's skulls and pinpointing the world's ‘most beautiful’ people. As Painter writes, a number of social and demographic upheavals (which she dubs ‘enlargements of whiteness’) over the last two centuries have gradually thrown many of those assumptions into question.”
 

Social Race

Newsletter: Share: