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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.

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Solar Cells

January 31, 2010, 5:40 AM
New solar cells that mimic photosynthesis are reaching the marketplace and being put in unusual places in order to recharge electrical devices like cell phones. "A new solar cell that imitates Mother Nature’s way of converting sunlight to energy is making its debut in a variety of consumer products. The technology uses a photosensitive dye to start its energy production, much the way leaves use chlorophyll to begin photosynthesis. The dye-sensitized cells will be used to provide power for devices ranging from e-book readers to cellphones — and will take some interesting forms. For e-book readers, for example, the cells may be found in thin, flexible panels stitched into the reader’s cover. But such panels will also be housed in new lines of backpacks and sports bags, where they can recharge devices like cellphones and music players. The technology, long in development, will work best in full, direct sunshine, said Dr. Michael Grätzel, a chemist and professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. But the cells will also make good use of dappled and ambient light, including the indoor light of fluorescent bulbs, he said."
 

Solar Cells

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