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

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Topic: How to Achieve in Science:

Jeff Friedman:  Well, there are a lot of things one has to- a lot of attributes one has to have I think to be good at science and I’ve been thinking recently about what’s the most important one. I think the one thing that you cannot be missing is persistence and determination and a drive. I think I am fairly driven and determined and I think typically whatever happens I get up and move forward. I think you have to have ideas. You have to be able to think expansively about things and not get locked on to a particular idea or conventional wisdom. I also think you have to recognize a good opportunity when you see it. I think the idea in the public on the part of some is that sort of the key thing in being a scientist are your ideas, the new idea you have. The fact that in my- in what I do though is that ideas are actually relatively cheap. You have ideas all the time. People have lots of ideas. Ideas are floating around. I think the really critical point is deciding which idea you’re going to focus on because you can’t do everything. For example, a lot of people thought it would be a good idea to clone ob but not that many people decided that they would make the commitment to it that it ended up taking so I think the notion of trying to figure out what the ob gene is is something that’s been around for 50 years.

Question: Is our society scientifically literate?


Jeff Friedman:  I’m not really in a great position to judge. I have served on some committees that began to think about this. I think that what these- what some people is that you want to get- to breed scientists you want to get away from high-stakes tests and really cultivate people’s originality and individual thinking. That’s a very hard thing to implement because everyone is so different when it comes to that, and so I don’t have any great solutions other than to say that any means for instilling in people the sense of excitement one can have about discovering something, even if it’s not new and even if it’s just discovering it for yourself, sensing some truth that wasn’t evident to you before, can be as exciting if it’s already been done and you simply learn about it after the fact as it is to learn about it for the first time.


 

How to Achieve in Science

Newsletter: Share: