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

Today's Big Idea: The Physics of Ideas

The Big Idea for Thursday, August 23, 2012

Noam Chomsky has said, "As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss." Today we're examining the physics of ideas -- how and why we make the decisions we do. Sociologist and physician Nicholas Christakis discusses how social networks shape our choices, and ultimately our lives. John Cookson examines the neurological basis of decision-making, and Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer fields the perennial question: "Does public opinion influence the judicial decisions?" Maria Konnikova argues that we can take a few pages from Sherlock Holmes' playbook to better understand our considerations.


  1. 1 How Your Social Network Shapes Your Decisions (And Your Friends' Decisions)
    Megan Erickson Inside Employers' Minds
  2. 2 Don't Just See; Observe: What Sherlock Holmes Can Teach Us About Mindful Decisions
    Maria Konnikova Artful Choice
  3. 3 Brain Confidence: How Our Neurons Make Decisions
    John Cookson Going Mental
  4. 4 Does Public Opinion Influence the Decision-Making of a Judge?
    Stephen Breyer

Today's Big Idea: The Physi...

Newsletter: Share: