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


Topic: Dr. Spencer Wells on Collecting Genetic Data Around the World

Spencer Wells: You know, we’re building on the work of many, many people, particularly the work of the man who was my post doctoral advisor at Stanford, Lucca Cavalli-Sforza who really kind of created the field of human population genetics, starting back in the 1950s, studying blood groups and other so called classical polymorphisms, these are protein variance and cell surfaces like the blood groups and, you know, so studying things that were studyable in those days before the DNA era before, you know, molecular genetics really came along and he started to ask questions like, you know, does this genetic information tell us something about how human populations are related and yes it did but it was kinda vague. And it was really only with the era of DNA sequencing which came about in the 1980s that people could start to get out some of the details of this.



Recorded on: Mar 15 2008




More from the Big Idea for Saturday, June 16 2012

Today's Big Idea: Genetic Knowledge

Where did you come from and how does that affect who you are? For one thing, possessing the knowledge that we share common ancestors can have the humanizing affect of enabling us to see past su... Read More…


Dr. Spencer Wells on Collec...

Newsletter: Share: