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: What should be the standard for science literary in the US?


Heidi Hammel: My sense, talking to the general public around the country, is that most people don’t have a very high level of scientific literacy. People seem to be afraid of science, and certainly people seem to be afraid of mathematics. And I think that’s such a shame, because I don’t think it’s as hard as people seem to think it is. You know, people have this idea that if you’re not brilliant like Einstein, you can’t be a scientist. And that’s just a myth. He was the one out of a million scientists, but there were 999,999 other scientists who were not as brilliant but who just do great science, as well. And so a lot of the work that I do is to try to dispel these myths about science being an arcane, hard field, and math being incomprehensible. I just think, you know what? We need to know math to be a good scientist, but math is a language, and we need to learn the language because that’s the language of science. And, you know, if I go to Sweden or Ethiopia, I can’t speak that language, and that doesn’t mean I can’t live in that country and function. I need to learn the language. It’s the same with science and math. You need to learn the language first, and then you can work in those fields. But it’s not mysterious and arcane. It’s a way of looking at the world, and a way of exploring the world, and trying to make sense of the world. It disappoints me that people are so frightened of science and frightened of math. I think the only way we’ll have a sea change in peoples’ appreciation of science, technology, engineering, math, is through a broad effort, partially part of the government, partially the work of scientists like me, who communicate to the public, partially the parents of young kids, not propagating myths about science is hard and, oh, I never did well in math, you know. You don’t need to do that. Yeah. It’s got to be a joint effort on everybody’s part. People need to realize that the world is changing. It’s a very different world than it was 20, 30 years ago, and we have to be aware of that as a culture, as a society, and recognize that the rest of the world is moving on and moving on pretty quickly. And if we want to maintain the level of comfort in our culture and society that we’ve become accustomed to, we have to really get in there, and we have to educate our kids, and bring them up to speed commensurate with what’s going on in the other countries, and I worry that that’s not happening.




Improving Science Literacy

Newsletter: Share: