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
With rendition switcher


Question: When you see a kid pick food off the floor and eat it, what do you think?

Bonnie Bassler: I think good, he is educating his immune system, right, and so, yes, so, you know, I think that somehow people, kids are covered with bacteria and you are covered with bacteria, so I am not a proponent of not getting the kids vaccinated, of not taking baths and washing him, of course, of reasonable hygiene, right, that is sort of how I live. I’m not hysterical about it and what I do think, what I really think, I think the human body is amazing. It is amazing at how well it works to make us so infrequently sick. People don’t die from infectious diseases in this country, they don’t, right, a few thousand people die a year from infectious diseases and most of them are old people, right, whose immune systems are not working so well, right? So the human body, given the sort of environment we, and I mean Americans by that, listen, it is amazing at protecting us, and the bacteria are helping with that, the good ones, the ones that are on us, so I don’t, this might get you, too, I don’t use those anti-- I mean, I work with bacteria every day, purposely work with gobs of bacteria every day, all day, it’s not quite that bad, but we don’t use those antibacterial soaps, soap is fine. You know, like I think, I just know, I’m always eating it, I’m always rubbing my eyes, I’m always and I am mostly well.

Question: What is your advice to parents?

Bonnie Bassler: Not relax, I think you have to be vigilant, I think you have to expect your kid is going to get sick over his or her young life, that is part of how you give them a nice immune system, so later, when your body is not healthy, you are better at coping with those things. But I think, you know, there are seven billion of us and most of us live in conditions that are so much less hygienic than Americans live in, right, I think it is a system that works.

Recorded on: 6/17/08



More from the Big Idea for Wednesday, October 09 2013

Bacteria therapy

A clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection can be deadly. In fact, 14,000 Americans die from this bacterial infection every year.  Scientists have found a highly effective and less invasive wa... Read More…


Don't Fear Bacteria in Your...

Newsletter: Share: