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


Michio Kaku: The realm of optics is advancing so rapidly now that at MIT scientists were able to create a super camera that has one trillion frames per second.  Now you may say to yourself so what.  Well think of a light beam. A light beam in a billionth of a second travels about a foot. Now when you look at yourself in a mirror in the morning you say to yourself “well that’s me.” Actually that’s not you at all. You’re looking at an image that is you a billionth of a second ago because that’s the time it takes for light to go from your face, to the mirror, back to your eyes. Same thing for the moon, when you look at the moon you’re not really looking at the moon as it is at all.  You’re looking at the moon as it was about a second ago. 

Well here is a new camera that can take a trillion frames per second and actually capture these processes that are beyond human comprehension. We forget the fact that the human brain and our senses have a timescale associated with it. Chemical reactions in the brain, chemical reactions in the eye and our senses take place at a very definite speed - the speed of chemical reactions. So we have a normal timeframe. Our body measures time in fractions of a second to a second to minutes.  That’s the normal frame of reference of the human body. But there is a whole universe out there.  There is a whole universe out there where events take place on a scale of billionths of a second and another timescale where events take place over a timescale of billions of years - and the sad thing is that we humans, our human brain, is unaccustomed to dealing with these true extreme universes that we never see.

For example, evolution, why is it that so many people don’t believe in evolution?  Because they can’t see it happening with their own eyes. And now we’re taking a look at another timescale, a scale of billionths of a second when perhaps in the future we may be able to photograph chemical reactions as they take place.  This could open up a whole new realm of science, the science that takes place on a scale of nanoseconds. 

For example, take a look at photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a rather mysterious process.  Believe it or not we physicists still have not worked out the complete quantum mechanics of photosynthesis, which mother nature figured out billions of years ago. And part of the problem is these chemical processes take place on a nano-scale that is way outside our ability to photograph and that’s why new cameras like this could open up a gateway, really open up the floodgates to a new branch of research.


Directed / Produced by

Elizabeth Rodd and Jonathan Fowler



This Super Camera Captures ...

Newsletter: Share: