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


Paul Hoffman:  When I was a child, if you had chicken pox there was a practice that many parents adopted; they would take your sibling and have them sleep in the same room, so you were exposed to chicken pox.  The idea was that if you caught it as an adult it would be much more serious, so you should get over it while you’re a child. I heard some suggestions that people wanted to do this in terms of swine flu. Is that a horrible thing to do?

Peter Palese: I think we have [moved] a little bit further along. We don’t have chicken pox problems anymore, we fortunately have a vaccine; I think we also have a vaccine come October of this year. So I think the answer is vaccination, not chicken pox parties.

Michael Worobey: There's one other component. When you get chicken pox then you’re immune for life. When you get measles you’re immune for life. When you get the flu, you’re immune probably till next year, maybe two years down the road because the flu is constantly changing. So it's one of the worst viruses that you could conceive of having a pox party for, because the immunity doesn’t last like it does [with chicken pox]; what you’re doing is you’re creating a scenario where the people at the pox party are probably going to infect other people who weren’t interested in having a pox party, who will infect other people and when you take that into account, to me, it seems irresponsible.

Recorded on:  July 14, 2009



Put Your Swine Flu Party on...

Newsletter: Share: