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

Adam Bly: Today’s generation of scientists is tackling science and sees science in fairly substantially different ways than the previous generation. First and foremost they are coming about at a time when to be experts simply in one discipline is limiting, is not impossible, and is not without value. But to not be capable of connecting other disciplines, and being comfortable and fluent in this new interdisciplinary landscape is an . . . is an inadequacy. It’s something that I think would hinder, you know, understanding. And so I think the capabilities of thinking laterally as opposed to just simply vertically within a field is different. I think that scientists are also becoming more aware of their responsibility as citizens. One of the potential great silver linings of the war on science in the United States over the last seven years has been that it has galvanized the U.S. scientific community in important ways. And when the ideals of science are under attack; and where scientists themselves are censored; and where freedom of flow of information in a free way is hindered; and where, you know, a society is making its widely believed anti-scientific decisions; it has almost consequently led to scientists reaffirming the core values of being a scientist – what it is to be a scientist. In fact Sir David King, who is the British science advisor, has recently laid out a pretty visionary idea of a Hippocratic Oath-like thing for scientists so that all scientists have some sort of unification; some core values that we all subscribe to. So I think that scientists now see the connection of their work to society at large. They see how their work can be misused and misinterpreted. They see that the funding for their research is coming, in many cases, from tax payers. And so there’s a natural desire and “responsibility” on the part of scientists to have transparency and find ways of communicating. And I think that the fact that more scientists are blogging right now, or are blogging right now, are . . . is a sign of new ways of kind of bypassing traditional media outlets to create this direct communication channel with the general public. And it’s allowing the public to connect with scientists and scientists to connect with the general public in very, very powerful ways I think.

Science is also a more global enterprise today. And so there is value in being able to understand how to connect and how to navigate across cultures, and languages, and geographic boundaries. Science has always been a borderless enterprise, but today more so than ever before. And when you look at a project like the human genome project, that brought together, you know, 29 disciplines from 50 plus countries. The Large Hedron Collider in Geneva now is an $8 billion project which is employing half the particle physicists in the world coming from dozens, and dozens, and dozens of natures . . . nations; dozens and dozens of languages. Globalization has permeated science, and science has permeated globalization. And so I think that creates a new lifestyle now for being a scientist. So all of those things are making scientists more engaged and global citizens.

 

Recorded on: 10/17/07

 

 

 

 

 

More from the Big Idea for Monday, February 03 2014

Anti-Disciplinary Learning

Ours is an age of specialization, where people are encouraged to go as deep as possible in their individual fields. T his is not conducive, however, for collaboration. In order to effectively c... Read More…

 

Scientific Trends to Watch

Newsletter: Share: