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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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The Laws of Nature

The Big Idea for Sunday, May 05, 2013

"Why is the mass of the electron what it is and not 12 times larger or half the size?"

Lee Smolin asks this and many other questions in today's lesson, which explores not only what the laws of nature are, but why are they what they are?

Furthermore, if an experiment is conducted 10 years from now or 10 billion years from now we expect that it should yield the same results. "So why do we expect to get an outcome in the future the same as in the past?" Smolin asks. Because the same law of nature is acting. But this is a very bizarre idea if you believe that there’s nothing that’s real outside of time. 


  1. 1 Cosmological Natural Selection and the Principle of Precedence
    Lee Smolin In Their Own Words
  2. 2 The Universe Is a Symphony of Vibrating Strings
    Michio Kaku
  3. 3 The Profound Violence of Time
    David Albert
  4. 4 Time Pretzels, Cosmic Music, and the Theory of Everything
    Michio Kaku

The Laws of Nature

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