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


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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

The Mind of the Cosmos: How Humans Found Our Way Back to the Center of the Universe

November 21, 2012, 12:00 AM

Here is one of the great existential problems that caused a lot of 20th century angst: the more we learn about the universe, the more we realize how insignificant we are. 

Here is 21st century science's answer to that: Humans are very sophisticated conglomerates of materials. We are very special indeed.

In the video below, Dartmouth professor Marcelo Gleiser walks us through some of the key milestones in our understanding of the universe, beginning with Copernicus telling us we are not at the center of the solar system, aka "the universe" as it was understood at the time. From Copernicus on, we grew less and less significant. Good heavens, our solar system is not even the center of the universe! Next, even our Milky Way galaxy is no big deal. 

The universe is expanding, and we are learning that we are smaller and smaller. Thanks a lot, science!

And yet, as Gleiser explains, we are also learning about life in the universe. While there may be Earth-like planets, we know just how special the conditions must be for the existence of intelligent life. Consider, for instance, that humans are able to think about who we are and ask questions about the universe.

Amazingly, the more we learn about the universe, the more we move back to the center again. 

Watch the video here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan


The Mind of the Cosmos: How...

Newsletter: Share: