Over the last four years, Big Think has featured over 3,000 interviews with experts who are either leading their fields or disrupting their fields. At the same time, we believe the notion of what constitutes an expert is ripe for discussion. After all, you can pile up all the academic degrees you want and still fail to make your mark in the real world. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, on the other hand, both dropped out of college.
Moreover, the democratizing power of technology has enabled do-it-yourselfers everywhere to contribute to the knowledge economy, regardless of their academic credentials. And yet, a lot of tension has been created in the scientific community as 'outsider scientists' have challenged mainstream thinking, in quantum physics, for instance. This is the subject of an exciting new book by Margaret Wertheim, which raises the question of what the status of these outsiders should be in our knowledge economy.