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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.

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The Mind of Freeman Dyson

March 29, 2010, 12:00 AM
In his Big Think interview, Freeman Dyson gladly discusses nearly the entire twentieth century: both its wonders (including almost miraculous advances in physics) and its horrors (for which, he says, science must accept part of the blame). Just don't ask him to speculate too much about the century ahead—particularly when it comes to the environment. Dyson, who has ruffled feathers by taking a more cautious stance on global warming than many of his colleagues, maintains that we can't predict climate changes decades in advance, and that it's "absurd" to try.
Answering his critics on the issue, the celebrated scientist says that the controversy "doesn't disturb [him] at all." In fact, he welcomes it. Although he believes that human activity is changing the climate, he points out that “it could very well be the climate gets colder. Nobody knows”—and believes that scaremongering predictions only prevent our taking realistic steps to address potential problems.

Recalling a long and varied career, Dyson also explains his role in the midcentury Orion Project (the rocket design could have had us "scooting around the solar system," but had to be scuttled due to radioactivity concerns) and offers his outlook on nuclear arms reduction 25 years after his book "Weapons and Hope." The quantum electrodynamics pioneer even comments, with a smile, on having been denied the Nobel Prize in Physics all these years: "If people ask why you didn't get the prize, it's much better than if they're asking, 'Why did you get it?'"

The Mind of Freeman Dyson

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